As many as 200,000 Belgian clients of online savings bank Rabobank.be will have to seek an alternative, after the Dutch parent announced the service will close at the end of 2022.
Rabobank set up its online Belgian subsidiary in 2002, and attracted much attention thanks to generous interest rates on savings.
But savings interest is now for the most part a thing of the past, thanks to the low interest rates offered by central banks for the money commercial banks deposit with them. In some special cases, even negative interest rates have been reported for high-ticket accounts – you save with us, and you pay us for holding on to your money for you.
For some time now, Rabobank has put an end to its competitive rates, and also gave up investment advice for depositors, arguing that rapidly-changing legislation made strategy difficult.
The decision to close Rabobank.be was taken some time ago, but first the parent company went in search of a buyer. None was found.
Nonetheless, the client base for the service stands at around 200,000 savers, together worth an estimated €7 billion.
Meanwhile 53 jobs will disappear, and a procedure for collective redundancies, obligatory under what is known in Belgium as the Renault law, is under way.
Rabobank has ensured clients their money will be kept safe as long as needs be, until they find another bank. But that came with a warning against phishing – when malevolent forces attempt to convince them to move their money to another account, which turns out to be fake.
For those who have not found a new bank by 1 July 2022, the remaining balance will be transferred to a Rabo Current Account., which will also be closed at a later date.