(Bloomberg) -- The Dutch government said a private sale or initial public offering are the preferred options state-owned De Volksbank NV.

Selling the bank to a new owner has the advantage of fewer operational complexities, while an IPO would retain the independence of the bank but requires an improvement in financial results, Dutch investment vehicle NLFI said in a report published Monday. 

NLFI, the government body that owns the bank, recommended against keeping De Volksbank as a state bank permanently, making it a cooperative bank or placing it under foundation management. 

The Dutch state fully nationalized SNS Reaal, as Volksbank was called, in February 2013 after growing losses at its real estate finance arm brought the lender to the brink of collapse. In 2016, the bank changed its name to De Volksbank, which means “the people’s bank” in Dutch.

“It is important to increase the chance of success of these options in the future that preparations for both options will start in parallel, partly because an IPO requires a longer preparation time,” NLFI said in a statement. This can be in the form of a “two-track approach,” in which the future options are developed simultaneously, the investment vehicle said.

With its four units — SNS, ASN Bank, RegioBank and BLG Wonen — Volksbank has total assets of €71.1 billion ($76.4 billion) and approximately 3,000 employees, according to its 2023 financial report.

“Given the outgoing status of the cabinet, it is up to my successor to make the decision on the future of De Volksbank,” the Netherlands’ caretaker finance minister, Steven van Weyenberg, said in a separate letter.  

Dutch election winner Geert Wilders’ nascent right-wing coalition, consisting of four parties, aims to form a cabinet under former spy Dick Schoof by June 26.

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