Our past made us what we are today: the world’s largest food and agribusiness bank.
A pioneering vision
It all began over a century ago, in the middle of the 1800s when Friedrich Raiffeisen came up with a system in which farmers’ own savings would be used to provide financial support through credit.
The cooperative philosophy is simples: a group of people are co-owners, partners, and directors and so have mutual responsibility. This cooperative bank is financed through attracting savings from the local community. The farmers who are members of the bank can lend money at market interest rates. The profits are added to the bank’s reserves.
In the late 19th century this form of collective self-help took off in the Netherlands. Dutch farmers wanted to modernize, but very often had problems getting credit, so rural credit cooperatives were opened around the entire country.
Where did the name Rabobank come from?
In 1898, the first two regional central banks were opened: the Cooperative Association of Raiffeisen Banks, and Cooperative Central Boerenleenbank. In 1972 they merged and created a central cooperative - Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank, or RABOBANK. The Ra from Raiffeisen and Bo from Boerenleenbank were also merged into Rabobank.
The international expansion of Dutch companies in the 1970s and 1980s also attracted Rabobank to go beyond the country’s borders. In 1981 Rabobank opened its first overseas branch, in New York. This was the first step. Since then Rabobank has opened more branches in Europe, North America, Asia, and South America, and it has struck strategic alliances with European partners, allowing Rabobank to take its experience in consumer banking and the agricultural sector to promising markets abroad. We are currently in 38 countries on every continent.
Rabobank’s work in Brazil began in 1989, with a representative office. In 1995 it was formally authorized to operate as a commercial bank and, in 2000, it also began to operate as a multiple bank, adding an investment portfolio. Since then, Rabobank has invested in long-term relationships and in services for corporate clients in the food sector.
In order to serve the needs of the rural sector as well, in 2004 Rabobank Brazil began to provide financial products and services direct to farmers. To build an even closer relationship with these clients, we opened branches in the main agribusiness hubs. Today, with a headquarters in São Paulo, Rabobank Brazil has another fourteen branches in the states of Bahia, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Goiás, Maranhão, and the Federal District which serve Brazil’s leading farmers.