Co-op bank transfer: Belgium’s vdk bank takes on clients from NewB

25,000 clients were transferred from NewB, which hit trouble last year after it failed to meet regulatory capital requirements

Around 25,000 clients of Belgian co-operative bank NewB were transferred to vdk bank on 1 April. The transfer of clients is the result of a partnership between the two co-op banks approved at NewB’s extraordinary general meeting on 14 January.

Set up in 2019, NewB was placed under the supervision of a court-appointed administrator last year after failing to meet failed to meet a €40m capital requirement set by the National Bank of Belgium.

The partnership with vdk allows NewB to continue to serve its clients while acting as a banking and investment agent for vdk.

“NewB will be vdk bank’s agency for the French-speaking part and will work actively on vdk bank’s sustainable development policy”, said Leen Van den Neste, CEO of vdk bank, and Bernard Bayot, president of NewB, at the official launch of the brand new agency. 

All NewB clients were personally contacted by NewB and informed about the possibility to become a client of vdk, with only 3,000 refusing to do so.

Related: Members of Belgian co-op bank NewB approve partnership with vdk

“Over the past few months, NewB has been providing all of its customers with full service to complete the transfer,“ said Leen Van den Neste, CEO of vdk bank. “The total volume of current accounts and savings accounts contributed by NewB amounts to approximately €80m. As for the securities portfolios, they represent a value of some €46m. We are ready to develop our activities throughout Belgium in collaboration with NewB, our new agency.”

The agreement also enables vdk, which had previously only served Flemish communities, to offer its products and services to French-speaking customers in Wallonia and Brussels.

To meet the needs of NewB clients, vdk has also created a corresponding bank product or account for each NewB product of account. All NewB accounts will cease to exist on 26 April. 

The partnership has enabled vdc bank to increase its client base by 19%.

“In January, the NewB co-operators expressed their confidence in this new synergy by an overwhelming majority of votes,” added Van den Neste. “NewB’s customers have just confirmed this trust with concrete actions. 25,000 customers is huge. The remaining balance has also been fully transferred.

“Customers reaffirmed their choice for a sustainable and ethical offer and confirmed their conviction that this offer would also be offered within vdk bank. In other words, vdk bank is the solution par excellence, in the four corners of Belgium, from Virton to Ypres, for consumers looking for ethical and sustainable banking products.”

Vdk has over 130,000 clients. The bank’s turnover has been growing at an average yearly rate of 8%.

“Our figures show us over the years that our vision is convincing more and more consumers,” said Van den Neste, “but we also see it in the questions and reactions that our employees receive from our customers. The demand for more transparency and sustainability has never been greater.

“Older and younger generations want to know more than ever precisely what is happening to their money. We must continue on this path. I am convinced that our openness and transparency will also hit the mark in Brussels and Wallonia.“

In addition to acting as an agency of idk bank, NewB will define the sustainable standards of the NewB Invest fund, which will be marketed by vdk, and will join in the development of vdk’s policy on sustainable development.

“NewB’s primary goal has always been to change banking for good,” added Bayot. “This priority will continue in our new role. Today, we start activities as a branch of vdk bank. We want to expand the offer of sustainable and ethical banking products to the French-speaking Belgian market in order to maximise the positive impact in the service of the planet, the community and our local economy.“

“vdk bank and NewB are determined to make their activities profitable and invite all those who favour solidarity and sustainable development to become customers,” said NewB and idk in a joint statement.