De Volksbank's history
We were established nearly two hundred years ago when the first savings bank was founded. To take good care of the money of the Dutch people. Today we focus on consumers, self-employed entrepreneurs and SMEs with three core products: payments, savings and mortgages.
In 1987 two major regional savings banks merged into SNS. Mergers and acquisitions drove the Group’s rapid expansion in the 1990s. In 1997, SNS Group and insurer REAAL Group merged into SNS REAAL. The company was listed at the stock exchange in 2006.
A number of acquisitions were completed in the years following SNS REAAL’s IPO. The property finance activities of Bouwfonds (SNS Property Finance) were acquired and added to the Bank in 2006. Subsequent acquisitions were those of RegioBank (2007) and, at the Insurer the Dutch activities of AXA (2007) and Zwitserleven (2008). SNS Bank’s retail bank activities have remained structurally profitable throughout the years. Despite this business unit’s positive results, however, from 2009 onwards rising losses at Property Finance put increasing pressure on SNS Bank’s results and solvency. This ultimately led to the nationalisation of SNS REAAL and its subsidiaries, including SNS Bank, on 1 February 2013. As a consequence of the nationalisation, the Dutch State is the sole shareholder of SNS REAAL (through NLFI).
As part of the restructuring plan drafted for SNS REAAL, Property Finance was isolated from SNS Bank and transferred to NLFI at the end of 2013. In 2014, initial steps were taken to disentangle the holding company and the banking and insurance activities in preparation for the proposed sale of the insurance activities. This sale, which was completed on 26 July 2015, was part of the restructuring plan, based on which the European Commission approved the nationalisation.
On 30 September 2015, SNS REAAL transferred its shares in SNS Bank N.V. to the Dutch State. As agreed, the aim is to privatise the bank, i.e. to return it to the market, for which there are several options. We are currently preparing for that future, since 1 January 2017 under our current name: de Volksbank N.V. The Minister of Finance informs the House of Representatives about our progress on a regular basis. This is done by letter, accompanied by an advice on the future options for de Volksbank from NL Financial Investments (NLFI). The latter was established by the Dutch Government in 2011 to manage the shares of nationalised financial institutions in the Netherlands.