16 Dec Member Spotlight: Dutch Banking Association
Being a small country, the Netherlands has a banking landscape of significant proportions. Many Dutch banks have global presence and have renowned reputations all over the world. The Dutch Banking Association (NVB) is the official representative organ for the Dutch banking sector. At the ‘house’ of banks approximately 55 people are the daily embodiment for practically all banks operating in the Netherlands; currently consisting of about 80 member banks. Their members include many foreign banks, investment banks, private, retail and cooperative institutions. It is known for a fact that banks have far-reaching influence on many levels of society, in the Netherlands this is no exception. Floris Mreijen, Deputy-Managing Director of the NVB, illustrates what the NVB mainly does: “We are the voice of our members in the political and regulatory dialogue between government, authorities and other organisations. Collaborating with all stakeholders we seek solutions for every issue that is of concern of banks and their clients. In doing so, we take a well-informed and balanced position benefitting society and economy. Our mediating role creates the necessary foundation where banks can build on.”
In the past, Dutch bankers and employer associations already assembled through several committees and work groups. In 1989, the NVB was established as the one and only industry-wide association with essential role for its members. Within the NVB there are about 400 active bankers involved in committees on different topics relevant to the industry. The NVB also actively participates on an European level, being a member of the European Banking Federation (EBF). Before 2011, the NVB and its predecessors were located in the city centre of Amsterdam, hereafter they moved to the financial district in Amsterdam South (Zuidas) where many of their members and partners are situated as well.
Floris Mreijen: “We all know that banks are relevant for everyone. As the Dutch Banking Association we listen to our members. Topics that are important for banks, naturally become an important task of the NVB. At this moment our main focus lies on banking supervision, security & fraud, financing entrepreneurship, housing, and responsible lending, saving and investing by consumers. Besides the commercial activities of banks we put much effort in the societal aspects entailing a responsible banking culture, conduct, governance, sustainability and financial education.” On a more concrete level, the NVB fulfils a communicative function on the aforementioned topics to the general public, media and national and international politics. Moreover, the NVB provides a platform where members can engage with a broad industrial network and access a rich knowledge database on the latest legislation and implementation use cases. The NVB also has developed and monitored the official code of conduct for bankers also known as the bankers’ oath. Continuously, this oath became mandatory for all employees in 2015. Floris Mreijen: “Besides representing banks as institutions, our work is relevant to hundreds of thousands employees and customers in banking. Our challenges are combining all interests and helping our members to act and respond properly and proactively on current issues. Logically, we are very aware of the advancements in the financial industry and therefore have an extensive agenda on digital banking informing our members and the public on topics such as cyber resilience and data privacy.
Moreover, in everything we do, we are aimed at the future. We believe that in order to maintain a competitive and sustainable industry we need to keep incentivising a transparent dialogue between all stakeholders. The future also calls for financial education, where upcoming generations need to be aware of the complexity of money and act consciously. We have developed financial board games and applications aimed at minors and even have brought bankers to secondary schools to talk about their profession. Besides transmitting this vision to the incumbent parties we have high hopes for the younger generation and the newcomers in the financial ecosystem. Bringing all groups together will foster a future-proof financial system.” The NVB is involved with Holland Fintech since the beginning and became a member this year to connect the banking sector with the Dutch Fintech network. The NVB has very accessible sources and publications that can be of great value for everyone.
In July 2016, the NVB and PWC published a Fintech Trend Report that can be found here. Other publications and sources for further reading can be found below: Financial Education: The Dutch Money Week, Publication on governance and code of conduct: Banking for the Future, Study on the trust of banks: Confidence Monitor 2016, Study on the perception of young bankers of their corporate culture: Behaviour & Culture Map, European agenda on Digital Banking (with EBF): Digital Banking Report, The story of banks: Banking Facts and Figures in the Netherlands 2016, Reaction to consultation of AFM on banking supervision (in Dutch): Consultatiereactie NVB-AFM, NVB vision on policy: Policy Programme 2016, Follow the Dutch Banking Association on Twitter @bankensector and LinkedIn and also @florismreijen