Banks

Banks offer a wide range of financial services: from loans to savings products and from mortgages to investment accounts. Before you decide to bank with a firm, you will do well to check out a few things, such as what conditions a certain product or service carries, or whether the bank has been granted authorization.

Conditions

Whether it’s transferring money or taking out a loan, every service or product offered by your bank comes with conditions attached. Before doing business with a bank, it is safe practice to find out about those conditions. Make inquiries at your bank. There are different types of conditions:

  • General banking conditions
    These list the general rights and duties the accountholder has to observe with respect to banking products. Every bank makes its own general banking conditions.
  • Product conditions
    The product conditions state the conditions the bank attaches to a specific product or service, such as Internet banking, a mortgage loan or securities services. For most products, conditions will differ from bank to bank. 

Complex financial products come with a 'key features document' (financiële bijsluiter) explaining the properties of the product. Key features documents are subject to supervision by the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM).

Banks are at liberty to choose which products they offer and under what conditions. DNB has no authority regarding the conditions that banks attach to their products or services.

Authorisation and registers

A bank needs to obtain authorisation from DNB if it wishes to offer its services in the Netherlands. All authorised banks are entered in the Register under the Act on the Supervision of the Credit System 1992 (Wet toezicht kredietwezen 1992/Wtk). Before you do any business with a bank, you are advised to verify that it has an entry in the Register of banks. Below, you will find a link to the Register.

Foreign banks operating in the Netherlandsalso need authorisation. Authorisation obtained in another EU country is also valid for the Netherlands. Instead of by DNB,however, such a bank is supervised by the supervisor of its home country. This arrangement reflects the fact that banking supervision is very similar across the EU. Foreign banks do have to register with DNB for entry in the Register of banks.

Supervision by DNB and the ECB

DNB only grants authorisation to banks that have sufficient financial assets and are managed by trustworthy and knowledgeable directors. DNB monitors banks permanently on the basis of financial reports which the banks are required to submit and of other information. The rules that banks have to observe are set down in the Wtk. Supervision by DNB does not provide a guarantee against any bank going bankrupt. What it does do is to reduce the risk.

A great deal changed on 4 November 2014 in terms of banking supervision. Since that date, supervision of the large European banks has been a shared responsibility of the ECB and the various national supervisory authorities. They supervise 120 banks, which, combined, account for some 85% of total assets in the euro area. In the Netherlands, ABN AMRO, SNS Bank, Rabobank, ING Bank, BNG Bank and NWB Bank are subject to the ECB's direct supervision.

The ECB, DNB and the other national supervisory authorities throughout Europe jointly see to it that financial institutions are in good condition and meet their financial obligations. In this way, they contribute to a healthy and reliable financial sector in Europe. For more information, please refer to the website section on the banking union.