Banking and financing are important service industries in the Netherlands, providing funds for international as well as domestic trade. Since the financial crisis of 2008, the size of the banking sector in the Netherlands has decreased. The total number of bank offices, for instance, reached approximately 3,400 in 2008. In 2016, this number was less than 1,700. In addition, the Netherlands was the country with the highest response of people who reported to already use mobile banking in the Benelux region in 2016. Indeed, roughly 95 percent of Dutch teenagers aged between 17 and 18 years used online banking to keep an eye on their bank account.
Overall, assets of domestic banking groups reached a reported value of approximately 2.3 trillion euros in 2015, together with 182 billion euros worth in assets of foreign-controlled banking group subsidiaries and branches. In comparison to the banking sectors in other EU countries, the Dutch banking sector is relatively large in size and averages more than four times the size of the Dutch GDP. An important characteristic of the banking sector in the Netherlands, however, is that a few large institutions dominate its financial markets. The Dutch Central Bank (DNB) stated in 2015 that Rabobank, ING and ABN Amro together held a market share of 60 to 80 percent in outstanding amounts for mortgages, business loans and savings. As an example, the total interest income on loans and advances to customers of Rabobank, ING and ABN Amro reached 16, 18 and 9 billion euros respectively in 2016. A large part of these loans, particularly in the case of Rabobank, came from real estate loans or mortgages. Indeed, in the Netherlands approximately 24 percent of all loans were real estate loans at the end of 2016. On the Dutch corporate banking market, ING's market penetration rate amounted to roughly 79 percent in 2015.
Because the banking sector is one of the most concentrated in Europe, the question what would happen if one of these big banks would collapse arises naturally. This question came close to being answered during the financial crisis, when both ING and ABN Amro were having difficulties, leading to a government intervention and eventual takeover of the latter. Since then, new regulations have been implemented to improve the capital management of Dutch banks. This lead to a successful IPO of ABN AMRO in November 2015, when the Dutch government sold its first installments of depositary receipts. In addition, each of the major Dutch banks has successfully undergone the stress tests imposed by the European Central Bank. Despite these developments, Dutch banks still name liquidity and the management of capital as some of their most important business development priorities. Another example of the tightened domestic regulatory framework is the introduction of a bankers' oath in 2013.
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