ABN Amro is no longer student friendly!

ABN Amro is no longer student friendly!

Representatives of the ABN AMRO Bank, which is headquartered in The Hague, made an agreement with S4 that the accounts of the new students will be accessible to them by Tuesday, August 5, 2008. This agreement was made in the interest of protecting the students from experiencing any difficulties upon their arrival. Regrettably, this agreement was not fulfilled.

On Saturday, August 2, 2008, representatives of the ABN Amro Bank were at the Schiphol A4 Hotel to fulfil their duty of identification and hand out the debit cards and pin codes to the students. Despite S4â??s compliance with all new rules and regulations, the bank was not able to have the accounts opened on time which has created financial complications and delays.

Apparently, the head office did not inform the branch offices in the cities of the agreement that was made with S4 to ensure a smooth process, where the opening of the accounts is concerned. This agreement included the waiving of the social security number (sofi-nummer). Normally this number, provided by the tax office, is required to open an account at the bank. The agreement allowed for the students to bring that number at a later date, as the process of getting this number can take a few weeks. However, in several of the cities, the branch offices insisted on the social security number.  

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Part of the agreement with ABN Amro bank included that the students will be able to go into a bank-shop with their passports, as of Tuesday, August 5, 2008 and be able to retrieve money, deposited by S4 before arrival of the students, from their accounts. This also did not happen for most of the students. In fact, the accounts themselves were not activated as was promised. Consequently, the students could not take out any money.

Drs. Richardson, director of S4 stated, "Although I told the parents to ensure that their children have money on their local accounts since we anticipated some difficulties with the bank, we did not expect this level of chaos. We understand that much of the money is being spent rather quickly to compensate at the moment. Nevertheless, we are extremely disappointed and disheartened in the manner we have been treated by the bank. No acquisition should jeopardize the welfare of students in particular those coming from the islands as they donâ??t have their parents to run to so easily."

So what has caused "this level of chaos"? A consortium of European banks recently acquired ABN Amro. This acquisition means that the various departments of the ABN Amro are being split up among the various banks. As a result, many of the processes are in transition and have led to various complications in the execution of these processes.

"The bottom line is that ABN Amro has exhibited behaviour that clearly states that it is no longer a student- friendly bank for students coming from the Dutch Caribbean. We, Arubahuis, SSC and S4 have negotiated with the bank on many matters however we are still at the mercy of this bank due to our long standing relationship. Nonetheless, we will have to investigate other options to minimize this damage for future students." Drs. Richardson stated.

In addition to the problem of accessibility there was another issue. For approximately 15% of the new students, the money that was deposited by S4 was returned as the bank said that the accounts were not valid. This was not the case as the bank accounts used were those given to S4 by ABN Amro.

"Due to the bankâ??s internal problems caused by the acquisition, things have gone completely array this year. We have students who canâ??t access money and then we have students who can but there was no money on the account due to the bankâ??s mistake. Needless to say that this gives the impression that we are at fault. However, as Drs. Richardson stated, we are at the mercy of the bank", stated Mila Koeks, the administrator and one in charge of dealing with the bank.


During the course of the week, many students called in to say that they have access to their funds after much pressure from S4â??s office. However, not all students are so fortunate. S4 management and staff are working hard to resolve this matter for all students in an expedite manner. Families of the students can rest assured that S4 Foundation will have this problem solved in the very near future.