Fortis customers grill board in Amsterdam
The first meeting took place in Amsterdam on Monday evening and allowed Dutch customers to pose questions about the bank's financial health.19 August 2008
AMSTERDAM - Dutch-Belgian bank Fortis is holding a series of "informative meetings" for customers concerned about the bank's financial health.
The first meeting, for Dutch customers, took place in Amsterdam on Monday evening, followed by similar meetings in Brussels on 20 and 21 August.
A spokeswoman for Fortis Netherlands told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on Monday that "some 800 people registered for the three meetings, the majority of them in Belgium."
She declined to indicate whether the number was more or less than expected by the bank.
Fortis has said that the bank's top officials will be present at the meetings to answer customers' questions in person.
The meetings are the latest attempt by Fortis to boost customer confidence in the Belgian-Dutch bank.
In July, Fortis launched a website www.uwvragen.fortis.nl enabling concerned customers to ask the bank their questions, promoting its new policy of complete transparency.
The meetings will also be broadcast live via these websites.
Confidence in Fortis has decreased sharply following the bank's announcement in late June that it needed an extra EUR 8 billion to improve its financial condition.
A consortium of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Fortis and Spanish bank Santander created the biggest banking deal in history in 2007, the EUR 72 billion acquisition of Dutch bank ABN AMRO.
The information meeting for its Dutch and Belgian customers does not meet the demands of Dutch the shareholders' association VEB or two Belgian shareholders' associations to hold an extraordinary shareholders meeting.
A shareholders meeting would enable the shareholders to request a vote about certain issues, including the handling of the ABN AMRO deal.
On the Amsterdam AEX index, Fortis shares stood at EUR 9.60 per share (down 0.72 percent) at 11:21 local time (09:21 GMT) on Monday. Since 1 January 2008, Fortis shares have lost 46.98 percent on the AEX.
[dpa / Expatica]
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