ING slashes 2,400 European jobs

Dutch financial-services giant ING will cut a further 2,400 jobs from its European businesses in a bid to cut costs and transform its retail banking business and further job losses have not been ruled out.

In a statement Jan Hommen, chief executive, said the group would cut 1,400 positions in the Netherlands and 1,000 in Belgium by 2015. He said the job losses would lead to €270 million in annual savings when completed.

This latest round of firings takes the total job cuts at the bank to 7,500 in the past 15 months since  2,400 job cuts were made last November.

These recently announced job losses will mainly affect workers in the information technology divisions and the bank's call centres at a time when customers shift to online banking.

It is understood that the group’s Australian operations are not planning any staff cuts.

This move to shed staff comes days after troubled British bank Barclays said it would cut at least 3,700 jobs to lift profitability.

Several other European lenders, including Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and Swiss UBS , have also slashed their headcount in recent months.

Data group Thomson Reuters has also announced plans to slash 2500 jobs.

The Amsterdam-based ING group also said fourth-quarter net income was 1.43 billion euros ($1.92 billion) compared with 1.19 billion euros a year earlier thanks to gains from asset sales in Asia and the US.

Underlying pre-tax profit fell 72 per cent to 184 million euros at the banking operations, while the insurance division came back from a loss of 1.5 billion euros in 2011, to 272 million euros in 2012.

ING’s core Tier 1 capital ratio dropped to 11.9 per cent at the end of December from 12.1 per cent in the third quarter as the company repaid the Netherlands 1.13 billion euros in aid and premiums.

Hommen called 2012 a “transformational year”, noting the sales of Asian insurers, the initial public offering of the group’s US insurance arm, as well as striking a new deal with the European Commission giving him until 2018 to sell its global insurance and asset-management operations.

ING sold its Malaysian insurance unit to AIA Group for 1.3-billion euros in the fourth quarter. The sale of its Canadian online bank in November resulted in a 1.1-billion-euro after tax gain while the sale of ING Direct UK led to a loss of 244-million euros in the period.

ING, Jan Hommen
Elizabeth Fry,
Article Posted:
February 15, 2013

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