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Response to the Ministry of Finance's letter to the House of Representatives for directional decision

On June 10, Steven van Weyenberg, outgoing Dutch Minister of Finance, sent a letter to the House of Representatives regarding: ‘Completion of second phase towards the directional decision on de Volksbank’. The Minister is thus giving substance to the process to come to a directional decision about the future of de Volksbank as announced by his predecessor. The Minister does emphasise that, given the cabinet’s outgoing status, the actual directional decision is up to his successor.

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The Ministry of Finance’s exploration of the future options conducted in 2021 is the basis for the analysis in two phases as a prelude to a directional decision. Based on the previous public interests analysis of 27 October 2023, the Ministry of Finance concluded it sees no need in the market to justify a permanent State participation in a bank. In its advice to the Minister of Finance published today, our shareholder NLFI assesses the five outlined options for the future for feasibility to come to a selection of realistic future scenarios for de Volksbank. In this process, NLFI also asked de Volksbank for its views.

At de Volksbank, we ​​particularly appreciate that we were given the opportunity to share our views with NLFI. De Volksbank concurs with the analysis drawn up by NLFI and the resulting advice as a basis for further political decision-making. In general terms, NLFI assesses two future options as realistic: a private sale or an initial public offering (IPO). This is in line with our own analysis and conclusion, although on closer inspection there are also differences, such as securing our social profile in the governance in advance and the vision of a possible sale in parts, noting that NLFI qualifies the latter option by pointing out that it does not necessarily recommend this, but does not want to rule it out in advance either.

In our response to NLFI, we have drawn attention to the social profile of de Volksbank and, therefore, our distinctive character in the financial sector. We see our views and arguments reflected in NLFI’s advice. The analysis thus mirrors the dialogue with our shareholder NLFI about our future. As far as de Volksbank is concerned, we ​​look forward to continuing this constructive dialogue. At the same time, our focus is on the rapid implementation of the strategy and priorities and the continued strengthening of the bank’s operational and financial robustness, so that we can continue to contribute to the diversity of the Dutch banking landscape as a systemic bank with a social character.

Both the letters to the House of Representatives of June 2024 and October 2023 and the Ministry of Finance’s exploration of the future options, can be found on the website of the Dutch House of Representatives (available in Dutch only).

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