At the same time, i.e. in the mid-1960s, the tightening regulations governing capital ratios, coupled with a sharp increase in corporate borrowing needs led to a strong movement towards banking sector concentration in Europe. At that time cross-border mergers were out of the question. Banks had to search their home markets for merger potential. In Belgium, Banque de la Société Générale de Belgique acquired Banque d Anvers and Société Belge de Banque (SBB) to form Société Générale de Banque. In the Netherlands, Amsterdam Bank and Rotterdam Bank merged in 1964 to form the Amsterdamsche en Rotterdamsche Bank (AMRO Bank). Meanwhile Twentsche Bank merged that same year with Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij to form Algemeene Bank Nederland (ABN).

The existing agreements between the banks only partly survived this drive towards concentration. AMRO Bank and Société Générale de Banque continued with the consortium policy started a number of years earlier by Amsterdamsche Bank and BSGB. Conversely, the crossholdings which had existed from 1946 between SBB and Twentsche Bank were unravelled. ABN, successor to the Twentsche Bank, declared it was a basic principle not to have formal links with foreign banks, and especially not to undertake the kind of relationships created between Banque de la Société Générale de Belgique, Deutsche Bank, Midland Bank and Amsterdam-Rotterdam Bank. In the same spirit, Société Générale de Banque then sold its stake in ABN.

In the second half of the 1960s, the relationships forged in the European Advisory Council generated the first concrete joint initiatives, essentially as regards their business abroad.

In 1967, AMRO, Société Générale de Banque, Midland Bank and Deutsche Bank together founded the European Credit Bank which specialised in granting medium and long term Eurocurrency loans. In 1968, the four partners joined forces to create a second joint subsidiary, the European American Bank (Eurambank). This institution was tasked with expanding the business of the four banks in the United States. By 1970, collaboration between the EAC members had become so close that they thought it appropriate to set up a permanent secretariat called European Banks International Company EBIC), an organisation intended to oversee the creation of banks in various regions of the world, sharing the risks and costs.

Under this umbrella a number of new initiatives were taken to develop the members business overseas. One by one were created: Eurab (European Arab Bank) for the Near East (1972), Euras (European Asian Bank) for South-East Asia (1972) and BEAL (Banque Européenne pour l Amérique latine) in 1974.

We should also note here that other West European banks were gradually invited to buy into the capital of EBIC and its subsidiaries. Société Générale (France) and Creditanstalt- Bankverein did so in 1971, followed by Banca Commerciale Italiana in 1973.

However, in the late 1970s, the consortium policy which had been followed for a dozen years with the aim of expanding overseas ended in disappointment. Cooperation between

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