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Legal work where you have to be able to empathize with the client

Nienke den Ouden, team leader Afbouw & Insolventie

"Sometimes the situation for an entrepreneur has deteriorated so much due to internal or external factors that his business is no longer viable. In that case, the local banks call on us to help reduce financing. By making sound arrangements, we ultimately try to close the book and put it behind us. With clarity and new perspectives for the client.”

After studying Law and Private Law in Groningen, Nienke den Ouden joined Rabobank. She started out as account manager Afbouw & Insolventie for the department of Special Asset Management and has since been promoted to team leader. She talks about her work and what it takes to do the work in the best possible way.

“The process of the final closure of his business requires empathy for the entrepreneur. The customer is actually in the process of mourning, when he sees his life’s work go under. Entrepreneurs go through different phases of acceptance and you have to be able to deal with that and respond to them emphatically. Afterwards, we regularly hear that they are relieved and happy with the guidance they have received.”

Banking and customer interests can sometimes clash

“Because banking and customer interests can clash, we always advise the customer to take on his own advisor. Even though we are looking for the best possible solution for both parties, everyone defends their own interests.We consider an honest and unambiguous relationship with customers to be an important starting point and we receive positive feedback on this approach.”

This work is a good combination of working on legal issues as well as being in contact with the client.
Nienke den Ouden

“The customer’s future after the insolvency is very important to us. For example, we always try to prevent the most serious consequences for their personal situation. After all, these are issues that have the greatest impact on the daily life of the entrepreneur. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out, but I really believe that Rabobank’s policy on remaining debt is the right one.”

Being of added value in a difficult situation

“This work is a good combination of working on legal issues as well as being in contact with the client. It is precisely in such a difficult situation that the bank can offer added value by coming up with a workable solution together. The way Rabobank deals with the customer in this situations suits me very well.”

“Financial and legal knowledge form the basis; knowing what works and what doesn’t work. You talk to clients, but also, for example, to liquidators. You have to be well versed in order to be able to communicate effectively with various parties and make the appropriate arrangements. And since you’re working on several files in different phases of insolvency, it’s also useful to be able to maintain an overview.”

Stronger together

“We share our experiences internally with other departments, such as Account management and Special Asset Management. We see what has gone wrong at businesses and provide feedback. So that we, as an organisation and our customers, can learn how mistakes can be prevented in the future.”

“We are driven to achieve the best possible result for the customer and those are pretty tough conversations. Contact with colleagues is therefore very important in order to be able to let things go, to discuss things before or after and to vent your heart.”

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