Rabobank buys into Fin-Force cross-border payments venture

Rabobank buys into Fin-Force cross-border payments venture

Netherlands-based Rabobank is acquiring a 22% stake in payments venture Fin-Force. Under the deal the bank will outsource its international payments processing operations to the unit, leading to the loss of 60 jobs.

Fin-Force was established in 2000 by Belgium's KBC Bank and EDS to offer outsourced payment services to banks. In March this year Germany's DZ Bank acquired a 10% holding in Fin-Force, reducing KBC's stake in the business to 85% and EDS' share to five per cent.

Under the latest agreement, Rabobank will buy a 22% stake and take a seat on the Fin-Force board. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Dutch bank will also outsource its international payments processing operations to Fin-Force from the start of 2007. As a result, Rabobank says a maximum of 60 full-time jobs will be cut over the long term.

The bank says the move to outsource the operations is part of its preparation for the introduction of the European Union's Single European Payments Area (Sepa) in 2008.

Piet Van Schijndel, member of the board of Rabobank, comments: "This alliance will enable us to keep the expense involved in the back-office processing of cross-border payments low. If we continue to do everything ourselves, we'll have to make major investments in IT hardware and software."

Pascal Deman, Fin-Force CEO, says the company's shareholders are still open to co-operating with other financial institutions and are prepared to adjust their shareholding structure where necessary.

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