Rabobank City and Central Groningen and De Haan Lawyers & Solicitors: both market leaders in the city and Ommeland. The bond between the organisations is decades old, strong and sealed with strong mutual commitment. The relationship was therefore rewarded by Rabobank Netherlands with preferred suppliership.
Corporate commitment is a good basis for a conversation between the acclaimed CEO Jan Loeters of Rabobank City and Central Groningen, ‘De Haan routinier’ and business associate Harm Jan Meijer. Three years ago, Loeters flew in from the ‘de Vaart & Vechtstreek’ to strengthen the Groningen management ‘temporarily’, and it has become unimaginable without him: ‘‘I will stay here a little longer. Groningen is a fantastic and diverse city with the RUG (University of Groningen), the UMCG (University Medical Centre of Groningen) and a very dynamic entrepreneurial landscape. Just look at the vibrant IT sector, manufacturing and the fine shipping industry sector.’’
Harm Jan Meijer appears to have walked the longest distance with the bank office at the Griffeweg. ‘‘Quite logical, when you consider my work as a business and insolvency law specialist for the department of ‘Special Management’. Either way, I have walked a long distance in this field. For nearly 25 years I provide advice to entrepreneurs about partnerships, business structures, corporate governance, restructuring and acquisition projects. Additionally, I am often appointed as curator in bankruptcies.’’
Loeters is not personally involved with everything, but very much aware of the years of cooperation with De Haan. ‘‘We certainly have a close connection. This is the case regarding banking legislation, such as the partnership of the construction of De Haan’s head office, as well as the legal field. They look after our interests in the field of labour law, for example. Additionally, lawsuits hardly ever occur.’’
For funding issues and the aforementioned insolvency law (often via 'Special Management’), the bank often calls on De Haan. ‘‘As a bank, we want to support the customer with financial means or advice, but also by involving external expertise. The 'Special Management' department always starts with the aim to let companies exist, which is also in our best interest. Here the expertise of De Haan often plays an important role.’’
‘‘De Haan always supports the dialogue as well,’’ Meijer confirms. "Sometimes we almost literally 'push’ entrepreneurs towards the bank. Entrepreneurs sometimes see their bank as a necessary evil and are therefore avoidant, but banks have a clear interest in keeping the ship sailing. Sometimes extra finance or proper guidance is enough to be successful. It is my experience that the Rabobank sets itself up to be social and focused on solutions."
Market leaders in the City and Ommeland.
The cooperation between the Rabobank SMG and De Haan is not only a mutual win-win. “In the social and sporting fields and in terms of sharing knowledge, we regularly join our forces," says Meijer. "Knowledge is a priority for our organisations, so we join forces assisting entrepreneurs, the government and management. Our legal knowledge and financial expertise are valuable to our joint network.” For example, this recently showed itself in the seminar “Supervision Management’' and Rabobank SMG regularly organises entrepreneurial lunches at the Griffeweg, where specialists from De Haan speak on relevant legal topics.
Remarkably, the organisations have an almost identical vision. The Rabobank SMG as well as De Haan will remain the market leaders by putting the clients' interests first at all times, continuing to invest in quality and by supporting the entrepreneurial landscape. Loeters: “The Rabobank is building connections with the client, society, the future with each other. The same applies to De Haan. We also have great social awareness as we are able to sense what’s happening on the market. Additionally, we possess much knowledge about the market.
"This is fed by our core values; inspiration, drive and creativity,” adds Meyer. Loeters recognises that. "The inspiration radiates from the passion for your profession, and commitment to clients is palpable. I experience vigour through perseverance, the work ethic and keeping to agreements. In the media, creativity is regularly noticed. I think the way the WAG Foundation was launched is a strong example of this, just like your presence in northern Germany; the signs of entrepreneurship and courage.”
Constructive and equal
Because of the preferred suppliership, the parties will be recognised as partners for a long time yet. Loeters is pleased with that: "The ease with which we can count on each other means a lot!"
Harm Jan Meijer
The Rabobank continues to see the person behind the matter. That human aspect is also important to Harm Jan Meijer. "I know the documents don’t only have legal aspects. I invest a lot of time and energy into my relationships. Where is my client in the economic system, what is their social environment like?’’ Meijer is proud of the files that have had to be handled with great speed and creativity, such as the one relating to a bakery which was up and running again the night after bankruptcy. “Clients need to have as little nuisance from legal issues as possible, and they deserve clear and competent advice."