world s largest retail banks, was also badly affected by the crisis of 2008 and received 10 billion in state aid, of which 3 billion is still outstanding. SNS REAAL Groep had to be nationalised in early 2013.

However, the cooperative sector of the banking industry was able to resist the financial storm. The cooperative banks, with their focus on the agricultural sector, had started to consolidate in 1972. With a network of 1,201 branches, the two largest players in this field the Coöperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen Bank and the Coöperative Centrale Boerenleenbank announced a merger under the corporate name of Centrale Rabo Bank. As its strategy Rabobank opted for the Allfinanz concept. Today, the bank is a well integrated financial service group in the Netherlands, combining banking, insurance, asset management and property development. It also has created an extensive branch network abroad.

Bank Paribas Nederland, which had pursued a strategy of becoming a medium sized retail bank, sold all its activities except for the asset management and investment banking branch to the Franco-Belgian bank Dexia in the year 2000. Dexia in turn sold the largest part of its operations in the Netherlands to GE Commercial Finance that same year. It now operates under the name of GE Artesia Bank.

The Dutch banking scene has indeed changed dramatically since the Second World War. Today s local market is dominated by four giants . By assets these four rank as follows11:

ING Bank 900 billion Rabobank Nederland 771 billion ABN AMRO Bank 421 billion Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. 143 billion

With the exception of government-related institutions such as the Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten (Dutch Municipalities Bank) and the FMO (the Netherlands Development Finance Company), less than a handful of small banks still survive today.

11. Standard & Poor s Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment: The Netherlands, November 16, 2012.