The subsidiary Alcredis Bank N.V. was sold off in 1992, as was the 50% shareholding the bank held in Fiat Credit Nederland. For the year 1992 Paribas Nederland showed a profit of 2.5 million guilders, up from the 1.5 million reported in 1991.

From 1993 onwards visible results from the new initiatives the Bank was taking began to show. Paribas Nederland was also now working in cooperation with Crédit du Nord95. Year-end results showed a further improvement to 4.7 million guilders. The Bank built up a flow of international transactions money transfers and forex. On the capital markets side, it developed trading in Dutch shares. In addition, both the institutional and private wealth management businesses grew satisfactorily.

In 1992, the bank decided to establish a French desk in order to service French companies that were setting up in the Netherlands, frequently centralising their currency flows in the country. Louis Boisgibault describes the business: We decided to set up a French desk, that is to say a unit that was responsible for serving major French clients, so that we could pay special attention to these strategic clients of the Bank. I was asked to head up the desk. The unit was based in the Amsterdam branch, whose offices were on the Herengracht, several buildings away from the original headquarters. Benoît Monsaingeon and I were the only French people in the subsidiary, which had around 300 staff. As part of my job I also supervised the major French accounts which were managed by the other branches of Paribas Nederland. For reasons of geographical proximity, various French companies in the Netherlands had chosen to open accounts at the Paribas branches in The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Enschede.

The Bank s new management put in place a more business-oriented internal organisation, as Robert Costermans, Head of the IT & Organisational Department, explains: Every week, there was a meeting of the credit committee where loan applications were examined and decisions taken. Branch management met every month to assess business performance. Prospecting for new clients was properly planned, and the visit reports were scrutinised by management. An entrepreneurial spirit now reigned in every corner of the Bank.

A spectacular recovery

The newly instigated policy brought results and drove recovery. In 1994, the Bank made a profit of 6.4 million guilders. The following year profits rose to 16.5 million guilders and 1997 was an even better year. The bank succeeded in winning new clients and generating large revenues. Robert Costermans continues: Our emphasis on medium-sized companies with an international orientation was increasingly complemented by specialised deals on which more added value could be created, especially in the area of structured finance,

95. Paribas took a controlling interest in Crédit du Nord, a major French retail bank in 1968 and held it until 1997, when the stake was sold to Société Générale.

110 T H E H I S T O R Y O F B N P PA R I B A S I N T H E N E T H E R L A N D S