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Dutch bank DSB denies problems after TV comments

Source: Reuters - Thu 1st Oct 2009

Dutch bank DSB dismissed calls from a mortgage foundation on Thursday for customers to withdraw their money and denied there was a run on the bank.

"We are not worried," DSB spokesman Klaas Wilting said ofremarks by Pieter Lakeman, chairman of the Stichting Hypotheekleed, in a national television interview. "There are no mass numbers of people taking away their money."

Wilting said the bank was seeing a "bit higher" level of withdrawals than usual, but said it was not uncommon for DSB to have days when withdrawals out numbered deposits.

The bank's Web site has been down since about 1000 GMT, Wilting said, due to a hacker attack that originated across Europe.

The Dutch central bank, DNB, declined to say whether it was monitoring DSB more closely.

"I have seen the remarks from Lakeman, they were not themost sensible" a DNB spokesman said.

No-one at market regulator AFM and the finance ministry was immediately available to comment.

At the end of 2007, the last figures the bank has disclosed, DSB had a balance sheet of 7.8 billion euros ($11.4 billion). That would make it roughly one-tenth the size of listed bank SNS Reaal and just over one one-hundredth the size of unlisted Rabobank.

DSB first drew scrutiny this summer when AFM fined it for lending people more than they should have been able to borrow.

The loans in question were made while former finance minister Gerrit Zalm was chief financial officer of the bank. Heleft DSB late last year to become CEO of nationalised bank ABNAMRO at the government's request.

The government has defended Zalm and the decision to name him chief executive of the bank.

After a critical newspaper story on his DSB tenure, Zalmsaid last month on ABN's internal website the article was "biased and full of insinuations".

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