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Rabobank Raised $3.6 Billion in German Savings, Chairman Says

Rabobank Groep raised 2.7 billion euros ($3.6 billion) in savings in Germany since starting an online bank there in June, according to Chairman Piet Moerland.

“Unbelievable,” Moerland, 63, said in an interview at the Dutch lender’s headquarters in Utrecht, the Netherlands on Dec. 19.“That is going a lot faster than we had expected.”

Dutch banks, including ABN Amro Group NV and Rabobank, look outside the Netherlands to attract deposits as most of the nation’s savings are tied up in pension funds. That left banks with a “funding gap,” or loans they can’t fund with deposits, of more than 450 billion euros at the end of the second quarter, according to a Dutch central bank report dated Oct. 9.

Getting deposits from the euro area helps as that money can be repatriated, Moerland says. Outside the region, Rabobank seeks to attract enough savings to match lending in the local currency. The bank has no plans to expand to new countries with online banking in the near future, he said.

Rabobank seeks to draw German savers through an advertising campaign that states the Netherlands has more to offer than good cheese. It currently has about 80,000 customers in Germany who have deposited 30,000 euros to 35,000 euros on average. The bank said it seeks to raise about 10 billion euros in five years in the country.

Rabobank, the biggest Dutch savings bank, had 149 billion euros of retail savings at the end of June, with 83 percent from domestic clients, according to its first-half earnings report. Its online banks in Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand had 19.1 billion euros in deposits.

Rabobank is one of two European commercial banks rated AA-with a stable outlook by Standard & Poor’s and was able to steer through the global financial crisis without state aid. The bank had a core Tier 1 capital ratio, a measure of financial strength, of 12.7 percent at the end of June.

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