June 23, 2021 THE HAGUE - The ABN AMRO customers in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom do not seem to have much support from the Dutch Minister of Finance, Wopke Hoekstra. A bank does have a duty of care and can only cancel an account with good substantiation, but, according to the minister, a bank may, first of all, decide for itself with whom it will enter into or continue a business relationship.
This is apparent from a response by Minister Wopke Hoekstra to a letter from a citizen, L.H., who is protesting ABN AMRO's plan to terminate payment accounts of customers in Curaçao and the other islands - with the exception of Aruba.
As a result, the minister had a conversation with ABN AMRO and the explanation in his letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament clearly shows how thinks about this: “First of all, it is up to a bank itself to determine its strategy and which clients it enters into or continues in a business relationship. Based on the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act (Wwft), a bank is obliged to make risk assessments and to adjust the customer acceptance policy accordingly.”
Increased risk does not mean that a group of customers should be categorically refused, Hoekstra adds. The bank does have a duty of care and can only cancel an account with good substantiation and with an eye for the interests of the customer. But according to the minister, the closing of the accounts has been postponed for the time being and if it does continue, customers will be guided, up to six months if necessary, in switching to a new payment account.
Last month it was announced that ABN AMRO has provisionally suspended the termination of accounts in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom in view of the Member of Parliament for D66, Sneller, for the Availability of Dutch Basic Payment Account Abroad. This law regulates that Dutch citizens outside the European Union are also entitled, under certain conditions, to a Dutch basic payment account.
To the question of whether the cancellation of bank accounts has been discontinued. A bank representative indicated it was not yet the case. The cancellation is still 'on hold', no final decision has been made yet.