Resolution Division policy officer
“If you would have told me two and a half years ago that I'd be spending a year in Paris as an expert on the deposit guarantee scheme, I'd have thought you were pulling my leg. After completing my degree in business economics, I went to work with a consultancy firm specialising in change management. I quickly realised that the social aspect was lacking, and I really missed that in my work. I drew up a list for myself of everything I wanted in a job: alongside social impact, I was also looking for an international environment, a substantive approach, teamwork and personal development. By sheer coincidence, on Facebook I happened across a university acquaintance who had gone to work for DNB. I started looking into opportunities, and soon discovered that a job at DNB ticked all the boxes for my dream job. It didn't take long before I joined the Resolution Division.
DNB established the National Resolution Authority in 2015 in response to the financial crisis. Banks play a vital role in society, and our division was created to protect society from bank failures. A Dutch hospital recently became insolvent and had to close its doors. Patients were left out in the cold. Like a hospital, a bank fulfils a number of vital social functions. Bank customers must know that their savings are safe, for example. This is why the deposit guarantee scheme is in place, providing bank customers with the assurance that their savings are guaranteed for up to EUR 100,000 in the case of bank insolvency, and that their money will be available to them within seven business days if a bank does in fact fail.
From bail-out to bail-in
Big Dutch banks such as ABN Amro and SNS started to wobble as the financial crisis worsened. They had to be propped up with public funds. We want to avoid such situations going forward. The Resolution Division now examines the specific bank's position: is the bank crucial to the financial stability of the Netherlands? Does the bank fulfil critical functions in society? If so, then we start preparing for resolution should the bank face insurmountable problems. This means deciding on which instruments are most suitable to ensure a smooth resolution. This may involve selling all or part of the bank, or a bail-in, in which the bank is restored to financial health from the inside with shareholder and bondholder assets. For a smooth resolution, we need to be aware of the details of the bank's balance sheet, which means working very closely with the bank.
In my work as a consultant, I focused on creating scope for change in organisations. These kinds of activities are part and parcel of working at DNB.
Our division may be the new kid on the block at DNB, but we certainly do not work in isolation. On the contrary, in fact. As an example, I am working with our data analysts on developing a data model and with our IT team on building an online disbursements portal. I also create simulations involving a fake bank facing insolvency, and I submit proposals for improving our internal crisis management organisation. Working at DNB means having the latitude to discover all kinds of new things and to get the most out of your talents.
Efforts are currently underway in Europe to harmonise national deposit guarantee schemes. Each scheme has its own history, technological infrastructure and financial system, however. In Germany, for example, cash is still king, whereas electronic payments are far more common in other countries. I am often present at regular meetings at the European level representing the Netherlands. There, I engage in discussions with colleagues from Italy, Germany, Spain and other countries. I'll soon be trading the Dutch flag for the EU flag, however, as I'll be seconded to the European Banking Authority (EBA) in Paris for a year. While there, I'll be evaluating the European DGS Directive, but I'll also assess the DGS authorities’ own methods for testing the operational resilience of the disbursements system.
I am sure it will be a very educational year, and I am especially looking forward to the intercultural aspect, even though I will miss my bike ride through Amsterdam to DNB. I'm really curious to find out if the culture at the EBA is as informal as I'm used to at DNB. I left a family-run company of 130 employees to come work here, where I'm just one of 1.800, but I still feel a personal touch.”
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