the banks could not withstand the appeal of the US market, where a number of BSGB partners in EBIC had not hesitated to go it alone notwithstanding their involvement in Eurambank. This attitude created conflicts of interest and tensions, and finally led to the demise of the entire consortium. It was not feasible to liquidate the consortium banks overnight, but they were no longer seen as BSGB s focus for overseas development. They were progressively closed down in the mid-1980s.

However, we should point out that BSGB had no reason whatsoever to complain about its cooperation with AMRO. On the contrary, this collaboration strengthened BSGB at every turn, even outside EBIC. In 1967, for example, the two banks went into partnership with Kuhn, Loeb & Co. and with Privatbank & Verwaltungsgesellschaft to found Bondtrade , with the aim of developing a secondary market in international bonds. In 1974, the two banks planned for a second time to exchange shareholdings and representatives on their Boards of Directors. In fact by the end of the 1970s, the Executive Boards of the two banks were meeting on a regular basis.

The abortive alliance with AMRO-Bank (1987-1989)

By the end of the 1970s, the good days of the bank consortiums were a thing of the past. Société Générale de Banque had to reformulate its international expansion strategy. A number of branches and representative offices were founded in the 1980s but the new momentum towards building the European Union encouraged the Bank to broaden its cooperation with AMRO. In December 1986, the leadership of the two banks met a during a joint study day where they together looked at the future potential of their international networks.

Gradually an ambitious plan emerged for a structural link-up between Générale de Banque and AMRO, banks which had since the 1950s been partners of choice on many projects. Negotiations towards a real amalgamation began in May-June 1987. One of the main objectives of the merger was to reduce costs by expanding the client base and capitalising on the economies of scale this would generate.

The agreement was signed in February 1988. Générale de Banque and AMRO Bank officially announced their intention to gradually amalgamate their structures. The first step would be to coordinate international activity and the banks would draft a joint international strategy. Then the two organisations would be fused together to form a single multinational banking group the largest in Benelux that would be the major player within a radius of 400 kilometres around Brussels and Amsterdam.

However, the lack of any real European company law gave rise to practical problems in arranging the merger. As a first step the two banks exchanged 9.9% of their capital in crossholdings and placed them in the Tuba Holding International B.V. company. They also

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