By Michelle Graff
New York--ABN Amro is closing its diamond and jewelry lending offices in both New York and Dubai as it continues to cut back on financing to the trade as a whole.

Brigitte Seegers, a spokeswoman for the Amsterdam-based bank, said it made the announcement during its first quarter earnings call May 14 that it will “discontinue” its Diamonds & Jewellery Clients service in the United States due to “the very small portfolio,” while the Dubai office is being closed due to “lack of scale.”

“We are in close contact with our Diamond & Jewellery clients in these locations to find alternative solutions,” Seegers said, adding that the bank will keep its diamond and jewelry offices in Belgium and Hong Kong open and will “work to further improve the risk profile of those portfolios.”

The announcement of the decision comes six months after the bank announced that Erik Jens, who had headed the bank’s diamond and jewelry business globally since 2012, would be leaving to “pursue his career outside the bank,” while ABN Amro restructured its business, moving its diamond and jewelry division under Trade & Commodity Finance within its Commercial and Institutional Banking business.

Geert van Reisen has replaced Jens as the global head of Diamond & Jewellery Clients.
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ABN Amro is the latest in a string of financial institutions to cut back on or withdraw from financing the trade after determining there is too much risk for little return in the sector.

Among those to exit entirely were Antwerp Diamond Bank, which began winding down its activities in 2014; Bank Leumi, which also closed in 2014; and Standard Chartered, which shut down its diamond unit in 2016.

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