ING cut­ting 7,000 jobs by 2021 in dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

THE HAGUE: Dutch bank ING, the coun­try’s big­gest lender, yes­ter­day an­nounced 7,000 jobs could be lost mainly in Bel­gium and The Nether­lands to save € 900 mil­lion (RM4.16 bil­lion) by 2021.

The move is partly di­rected by the bank’s bid to re­shape its ser­vices for the dig­i­tal bank­ing mar­ket, in which it said it would be in­vest­ing some € 800 mil­lion.

“Over the com­ing five years, around 7,000 func­tions might be im­pacted by th­ese ef­fects,” said chief ex­ec­u­tive Ralph Hamer.

Stress­ing the plans were not yet fi­nal, Hamer said the work­force could be re­duced by some 3,500 in Bel­gium and another 2,300 in The Nether­lands. The re­main­ing posts were ex­pected to be cut by ex­ter­nal sup­pli­ers.

“Cus­tomers are in­creas­ingly dig­i­tal and bank with us more and more through mo­bile de­vices,” Hamer said in a state­ment.

They “ex­pect us to adopt new tech­nol­ogy as fast as com­pa­nies in other sec­tors,” Hamer said, adding ING needs “to of­fer a bet­ter cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, that’s in­stant, per­sonal, fric­tion­less and rel­e­vant”.

Am­s­ter­dam-based ING em­ploys some 52,000 peo­ple in 40 coun­tries around the world.

It was bailed out to the tune of € 10 bil­lion in 2008 after the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis struck, but it was forced by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion to exit the in­surance busi­ness.

It paid off the € 10 bil­lion plus in­ter­est that it owed the Dutch gov­ern­ment in Novem­ber 2014, well ahead of time.

Yes­ter­day’s an­nounce­ment comes after ABN Amro, the coun­try’s third largest bank, said last month it was shed­ding 1,375 jobs over the next three years as it moves to­wards greater dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion.

Hamer ac­knowl­edged yes­ter­day that “banks are con­fronted with con­tin­u­ous reg­u­la­tory bur­den and a pro­longed pe­riod of ul­tra-low in­ter­est rates.”

“Th­ese fac­tors put pres­sure on the re­turns, which are nec­es­sary to fund growth and in­vest­ments, and cover our cost of cap­i­tal,” he added.

In Au­gust, ING said it had boosted its op­er­at­ing prof­its by 26.7% in the sec­ond quar­ter to € 1.4 bil­lion and in­creased its lend­ing by € 15 bil­lion in the same pe­riod in 2015. – AFP

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