Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra has called on Dutch banks to reduce the interest rates they charge on overdraft payments in a new move designed to financially support consumers in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. In an interview, Hoekstra told De Telegraaf newspaper that supporting people “is evidently about reducing those percentages,” which are currently “very substantial.”
The measures taken to curb the spread of coronavirus Covid-19 will result in the Dutch economy shrinking 3.5 percent this year, ABN Amro calculated on the assumption that the current restrictions will last about two months. Unemployment will be around 4.5 percent by this summer, compared to 2.9 percent in February, according to the bank.
ABN Amro took a 183-million euro hit to its profits after a single US client failed to meet margin calls required to keep trading. The bank pointed to the market turmoil during the coronavirus pandemic when it reported the loss in a statement at the beginning of the business day.
Banks in the Netherlands are looking for ways to help their customers through the coronavirus crisis. ABN Amro, ING, Rabobank, and Triodos together decided to give smaller companies with financing up to 2.5 million euros deferral of payment, if they need it and are financially healthy at their core. Payments can be deferred for up to six months, the Dutch association of banks NVB announced on Thursday.
For the first time in a long time, the mortgage interest rates in the Netherlands are expected to rise instead of fall - due to the economic uncertainty the coronavirus is causing, according to ABN Amro.
The bank previously forecast that interest rates would fall further, even though the mortgage interest rate was already historically low. But that prediction was made before Covid-19 spread to Europe and the Netherlands.
The coronavirus Covid-19 and the national measures taken to fight its further spread is wreaking havoc in the hospitality and recreation industries, and among the around 3 million people in the Netherlands who work on flexible contracts or as freelancers - many of which work in hospitality and recreation. Quick measures are needed to make sure these workers don't sink, according to experts.
A mass selling of stocks triggered by the increasing spread of coronavirus Covid-19 combined with sharply falling oil prices resulted in stock markets across Europe crashing on Monday morning. Amsterdam's AEX fell over 7.6 percent within the first 45 minutes of Monday's trading, compared to Friday's close, before a slight rebound
Over the past two years banks ABN Amro, ING, Rabobank, and the Volksbank received nearly 5 thousand reports of help desk fraud amounting in almost 5.3 million euros in damages, NU.nl reported based on figures received from the Public Prosecution Service (OM). The banks' reports seem to contradict previous statements from the OM that help desk fraud is decreasing, the newspaper wrote.
Two mail bombs which exploded in Amsterdam and Kerkrade earlier on Wednesday were part of an extortion plot where the sender demanded an undisclosed amount of bitcoin. The demand was made with the promise that, if paid, the sender would stop distributing the explosives, police said in a statement.
The amount involved was not revealed so the information could be used against any eventual suspect, police said.
ABN Amro currently has over 2 thousand full time jobs dedicated to the detection of financial crimes like money laundering, CEO Kees van Dijkhuizen said when revealing the bank's quarterly figures. In the fourth quarter of 2019, ABN Amro made 316 million euros in net profit. For all of 2019, the bank's profits amounted to over 2 billion euros.
A suspicious letter was found in Maastricht on Wednesday, after two mail bombs exploded in Amsterdam and Kerkrade earlier in the day. There was no explosion in Maastricht, the Limburg police said on Twitter. Minister Sander Dekker for Legal Protection called the blasts "worrying". "As far as we can see now, there are no victims, no injuries. So that's great," he said to De Limburger. "For the rest, the police must investigate."
Charities in the Netherlands fear that they will lose hundreds of thousands of euros per year to banks once negative interest rates on savings are implemented, Financieele Dagblad reports after speaking to four charities.
ABN Amro is lowering the interest rate on its savings accounts to 0 percent as of April 1st. Customers with more than 2.5 million euros in their saving accounts will face negative interest. The bank is the first of the large banks in the Netherlands to take this step, NU.nl reports.
The price increases on the housing market in the Netherlands will level off this year, but prices will still rise, according to analysts at ABN Amro. They predict that home prices will increase by 4 percent in 2020, compared to last year's 7 percent increase, NU.nl reports.
An ABN Amro ATM on Zijdelwaardplein in Uithoorn was blown open with an explosive early on Tuesday morning. Two suspects were seen fleeing the scene on a dark colored scooter, the Amsterdam police said on Twitter. Whether they managed to steal any cash, is not yet clear.
The ATM bombing happened at around 3:50 a.m. The police cordoned off the area and called in explosive experts from both the police and the Ministry of Defense to investigate whether any explosives were left behind.
With ABN Amro closing a large number of their ATM's due to ATM bombings, thieves will very likely start targeting ATMs from other banks. "Experience shows that criminals will almost certainly do that", Jos van der Stap, national coordinator for robbery at the police, said to NU.nl.
Four banks teamed up with the Dutch government and authorities to fight against financial service providers who launder money for criminals, Financieele Dagblad reported on Friday based on information from an anonymous source.
According to FD, ABN Amro, ING, Rabobank and Volksbank signed a covenant with the National Police, the FIOD, the Public Prosecution Service, and financial intelligence unit FIU. This "serious crime task force" will focus on upper world lackeys who facilitate undermining crime.
ABN Amro decided to shut down a few dozen of its ATMs after a series of bombings. The bank knows that this may be annoying for some customers whose regular ATM will suddenly be unavailable, but the measure is taken with the safety of customers in mind, a spokesperson for ABN Amro said to NOS.
When merging with Fortis in 2010, ABN Amro failed to screen the over 5 million Fortis customers individually, according to NRC. All 5 million of them were automatically labeled as "reliable" - the lowest risk category - meaning that ABN Amro considers them relatively harmless and unlikely to commit financial crimes, according to the newspaper.
ABN Amro will not implement negative interest on savings accounts with less than 100 thousand euros in them, the bank promised. The bank's interest rate on savings currently stands at 0.01 percent. It can, theoretically, still drop for zero. But most customers will not have to pay to keep their savings at ABN Amro, NOS reports.
Banks in the Netherlands have joined the fight against problematic debts. From now on banks will refer customers who are regularly in the red to website Geldfit, where they can get help with managing their money problems. The same applies to customers who use up their savings quickly or miss payments on a bank loan, NOS reports.
The police suspect a Dutch-Bosnian drug cartel of large-scale money laundering, part of which happened through ING and ABN Amro bank accounts, newspaper AD reports based on police documents in its possession.
ABN Amro is lowering the interest on its freely withdrawable savings accounts from 0.02 percent to 0.01 percent as of November 1st, the bank said on its website on Friday. Savings interest at ING is still 0.02 percent and at Rabobank 0.03 percent, NU.nl reports
The falling mortgage rate broke a new record on Monday. For the first time in Netherlands history, the interest for the longest fixed-interest mortgage period of 30 years dropped to 2 percent, AD reports based on figures from Actuelerentestanden.nl.
The mortgage provider that broke this record first was Reaal with its annuity mortgage called Lekker Wonen. The interest rate only applies to homes that are eligible for a National Mortgage Guarantee - homes with a value up to 290 thousand euros.