(Editor’s note: Jackie Harding is a British-born journalist and photographer and an ABN AMRO client.)
Moving to a foreign country is overwhelming for so many reasons, big and small. For British expats relocating to the Netherlands due to Brexit, you might not even have planned to relocate. The reality is, at least 140 companies have relocated to Eindhoven, Amsterdam and other Dutch cities from Great Britain in response to Brexit, and a further 425 companies are considering relocating to the Netherlands. That means more expats moving to the Netherlands and more expats needing banking services.
Expats are anxious about relocation of any kind. Top concerns include dealing with immigration, legal issues and, finally, finding a bank you can deal with comfortably in your own language.
ABN AMRO has the International Clients Desk, a customer service group that works specifically with expats and non-residents. You can personally visit nine International Clients Desk offices in Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Eindhoven.
“That made ABN AMRO a fantastic find when my family moved to the Netherlands, all down to a Dutch friend’s recommendation,” said Jackie Harding, a journalist/photographer whose husband, Martin, owns a business in the Netherlands. “The No. 1 reason we love dealing with them is they understand our need to deal with financial issues in a language we all understand – English,” Jackie said.
As one of Europe’s largest and most successful financial institutions, ABN AMRO has the resources to make changing banks an easy transition for newly arrived internationals. All ABN AMRO offices have staff who speak English and are “expat-friendly.” “This is fantastic when you first arrive and are reeling with insecurity. Just having someone to talk you through the process of arranging accounts and bank cards in English is priceless for expats,” Jackie said.
“I have banked with ABN AMRO since we arrived and very satisfied with their service,” said Martin, who owns an AV business based in Wijk en Aalburg. “The website is in English (and Dutch, of course!) and is easy and intuitive to use, so it’s simple to do my banking online – both for domestic and international transfers.
“On the occasions I have needed to speak to someone at ABN AMRO, I have always found them friendly and competent, and able to speak English fluently, sometimes regarding quite complex financial matters. I would certainly recommend them to other international people moving to the Netherlands,” Martin added.
The ABN AMRO website has an option for English, which is enormously reassuring and means customers don’t have to “cut and paste” everything into Google Translate, Martin and Jackie said. But there’s far more than that.
ABN AMRO has streamlined its process for expats so you can open an account even before they receive their BSN (burgerservicenummer). You simply forward the number when you receive it. You can even open an account in Schiphol Airport right off the plane.
Feeling secure and confident with trusted bankers looking after your money is the first step to feeling “at home.” ABN AMRO has employees who can assist you in your language … whatever you speak. All of the more than 150 special expat advisers at the International Clients Desk are fluent in English. But they can also help you in one of 15 other languages. Mobile and online banking are also in English.
You’ll need more than banking services, and ABN AMRO has them, including:
• Insurance: At ABN AMRO, you can choose from a long list of services, including insurance of all types (household, travel, liability, car), investments and pensions.
• Home buying: There are also mortgage workshops for expats who are considering buying a home in the Netherlands. Purchasing a home is a daunting task, but ABN AMRO hosts regular workshops to show you the steps required to apply for a mortgage, answer all your questions, then take you on a tour of neighborhoods during open-house days.
• Mobile app: You can make payments and transfer funds between accounts. Customers can also block debit cards if cards are lost or stolen so no debits can be made, and now you can add your ABN AMRO debit card to your smartphone wallet.
• Video banking: This is a brand new service introduced in response to expat needs. It’s just another custom service touch point established to help expats feel more comfortable about making an international move. Let’s say you get a job offer in the Netherlands and you’re leaving the UK. You can set up a video banking appointment with bank officials before you make your move, which helps smooth the transition.
“The threat of Brexit is causing many Brits moving to the Netherlands enormous stress, creating questions such as, ‘Is this move really worth all the hassle?’ and ‘How will we cope financially if Britain does leave the EU?” Jackie said.
Having a bank expats can rely on – that offers great service and English service – makes ABN AMRO “a financial port in the storm,” she said. “After all, it is your money.”