Leasing company vows to
stay independent despite change. Liz Bury
The Amstel Lease brand is to
disappear from the market to be replaced by ABN Amro Lease as the
lessor takes its parent bank’s name.
The move reflects a strategy
to grow leasing business with ABN Amro’s corporate banking customer
base, and echoes similar steps among other bank owned
ABN Amro has 350,000 business
customers in the Netherlands, of which 80,000 to 100,000 are
considered potential leasing clients.
The bank gained clients when it merged with Fortis
Bank in 2008, and lost some on selling a portion of its commercial
banking to Deutsche Bank in 2009.
Robert Peterson, ABN Amro
Lease director of strategy and innovation, said the name change was
“not an integration; not a move towards more integration.This
strengthens our position.”
The sales, credit, and IT
departments will be unchanged. “That kind of integration is okay.
It will contribute to the development of our business. We expect
this to make it easier for the bank’s customer relationship manager
to introduce leasing products to clients. And it will be easier,
using the ABN Amro brand name, for our leasing sales
The lessor has a three
pronged growth strategy for the next three years, in line with ABN
Amro’s plans. It aims to increase lease penetration with ABN Amro’s
corporate clients; to grow business with non-bank customers; and to
target new European markets, other than Belgium, Germany and the UK
where it already has a presence.
New business is budgeted at
€1bn for 2010, against €860m in 2009, and €1.2bn in 2008. “We are
on our way back. We make much higher returns than banks make in the
Netherlands on loan contracts. Margins are up this year and were up
last year, and are now stabilising. If we keep these levels we have
a sustainable business.”
The leasing company is based
in Utrecht, “a long way” from ABN Amro’s base in Amsterdam. “We are
independent, governed by a supervisory board that meets four times
a year,” Peterson said.
The company funds 360
different assets and will serve all segments of the bank’s client
“We focus on the corporate
and higher end; but if we want to grow that will mean being in
smaller deals,” Peterson said.
See debate: Is
integration with general banking good for leasing?