International The Editor's Diary Annual Report 1978 Senior appoint* ments Staff journal of the ABN Bank, Amsterdam, Holland, and affiliations May 1979, No. 1 ABN Bank ABN Banknotes Looking back on 1978 with confidence in 1979 Mr. J. de Jongh, member of the Managing Board It is a good idea to pause now and again on the thres hold of past and future. The turn of the year affords an excellent opportunity for such an exercise. But as the first issue of ABN Banknotes Inter national in 1979 will not be published until May, by which time the first quarter will be behind us, I should prefer to ally this message to the recent appearance of our Annual Report for 1978. There are grounds for optimism in the fact that the upward trend in profit and business volume continu ed during the year. With this fur ther growth, the ABN has again emphasized its prominent position among the major internationally- operating banks. As is often men tioned abroad, it is remarkable that a bank as large as ours should have its seat of operations in a country whose gross national product is less than four times our balance sheet total. A long, internationally-orient ed mercantile tradition is among the factors which have contributed to this situation. Equally impor tant, however, is the existence of a Government which, in exercising its supervisory role in the area of banking, recognizes the contri bution which a flourishing banking sector can make to the growth of economic activity. Looking back on the economic and political developments in 1978, there is little cause for optimism such as I have just expressed in regard to the progress of the Bank's affairs. Remembering the fall in oil output from Iran and the develop ments in Indochina, one can only conclude that the world's problems are increasing rather than declining. The events in the Near East afford a measure of relief, though even there it is difficult to escape the impres sion that it will be a long while before a permanent solution is found to the difficulties which in recent decades have given rise to armed conflict on numerous occa sions. The unrest in the financial world was of comparable magnitude in 1978, and this was most clearly manifested in the hectic fall in the value of the U.S. dollar. But even in this respect there is hope for sub stantial improvement since the U.S. Government, in the final quarter, showed its willingness to take firm measures to halt the anarchy sur rounding its currency. With this, at least one of the conditions for a resumption of healthy economic growth has been met. As an internationally-operating bank, the ABN is directly affected by developments in the internatio nal world of finance. We are also frequently confronted with the consequences of political unrest in countries in which we and/or our clients conduct business. Against this background, profound respect and gratitude are due to the mem bers of our staff, whose effort and dedication, often under very diffi cult circumstances, enabled as much to be achieved as is evidenced by the Annual Report. The growth of the Bank is fre quently clearer from the events which take place around us than from figures alone. We have wit nessed a further expansion of our network of branches. In this con text, the strengthening of our posi tion in the U.S.A. by the acquisi tion of practically the whole of the equity of the LaSalle National Bank merits particular mention. The plan to improve the Head Office accom modation has moved a step nearer to realization with the purchase of a site in a suburb of Amsterdam, on which the new building will be erected. I am confident that, with the support which you have demon strated in the past, the Bank can continue on its present path in spite of all the unrest which is going on in the world outside. In conclusion, I would express the sincere hope that 1979 may bring prosperity and happiness to each and every one of you. J. de Jongh First, an apology for the late appearance of this first issue of 1979. To prevent a recurrence of this situation, we would again appeal to you, readers and fellow employees of the Bank, to get your eyes, minds and pens working. Without your assistance, it is impossible to make a good staff magazine. Your colleagues in other parts of the world are interested in your working experiences, the achievements of your branch sports club and life in your country. Above all. do not be put off by a feeling (often misplaced) that you lack talent for authorship. Just put your ideas down on paper in your own words and send us the result. If you can illustrate your story with a photograph or two, so much the better. If necessary and with your approval the item will be edited to make it more suitable for publication. That, after all, is an editor's job Our address, in case you have mislaid it, is: The Editor, ABN Banknotes International O.D. 50, ABN Bank, P.O. Box 669, 1000 EG Amsterdam, The Netherlands. On behalf of all readers, thanks in advance! Continued expansion, higher profit Dr. C.J. Oort Mr. J.H. Geertsema Dr. C.J. Oort, advisor to the Bank on international financial matters and acting head of the Directorate Liquidities has been appointed to the Managing Board with effect from 27th April 1979. Mr. J.H. Geertsema, general ma nager, who was attached to the Directorate Liquidities has been appointed to chief general mana ger of this department with effect from 1st May 1979. Mr. H. Visser, chief general ma nager and chairman of the Nether lands Loan Committee, retired on 1st May 1979. He was succeeded by Mr. J.J. Hamminga, chief gene ral manager, who since 1973 has headed the Administrative Direc torate. Mr. Hamminga was succeeded by Mr. P. Ribourdouille, general manager, who has been attached to the Administrative Directorate since 1976, and who was promoted to chief general manager on the occasion. The next issue of ABN Bank notes will feature interviews with Dr. Oort and with Mr. Visser. The climate in which the ABN operated in 1978 was marked by a low level of economic growth ac companied by fluctuations, some times severe, in the rates of ex change of a number of currencies, which also exerted an influence on interest rates. Against this back ground, it is gratifying to observe that the Bank again achieved sub stantial progress. This is most clear ly reflected in the balance sheet total, which rose by 19.8 from f 63,600 million to f 76,200 mil lion. How was this increase (of nearly one-fifth) achieved? Some f 6,900 million just over half the increase in the balance sheet total was in the shape of loans. A substantial portion of this sum was in the form of industrial loans and those to family house holds in the Netherlands. Loans to industry in the Nether lands increased by approximately 18 Under the influence of a rise in investment - which, moreover, was financed with bank loans to a greater extent than in 1977 me dium- and long-term loans rose by about 23 Short-term loans (chiefly in the shape of overdrafts) displayed an increase of about 15 a portion of which was attri butable to a build-up of stocks by many companies. Recent years have produced a notable shift in the nature of the undertakings to which the Bank furnishes loans. In the early 1970s, the emphasis lay on industrial com panies; today, it is on firms in the services sector. It would appear that the changes in the structure of the Dutch economy are clearly reflect ed in the composition of our loan portfolio. Loans to family households in creased by 36 in 1978. The great er portion of the rise related to home loans. Algemene Bank voor Hypothecair Krediet provided ap proximately 17,200 loans aggregat ing nearly f 2,100 million. This rapid rise served to substantially increase our share of the home loan market. Consumer credit rose by 17 in 1978. Loans under the Planpoteek scheme, introduced early in 1977, increased by no less than 75 The success achieved in this area is reflected in the recent introduction of the Senior Planpoteek scheme. (Continued on page 2, Col. 1) Mr. H. Visser Mr. J.J. Hamminga Mr. P. Ribourdouille

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Algemene Bank Nederland - Banknotes | 1979 | | pagina 1