“Helping colleagues, customers and communities safely through the Covid-19 pandemic remains a top priority, and I’m proud of how ING has stepped up to deal with this challenge,” said Steven van Rijswijk, CEO of ING Group. “The pandemic continues to have a significant impact everywhere, with the second wave in Europe and the US putting further pressure on consumers and businesses. Looking back, ING’s third-quarter results were resilient, with increased fee income from diversified income sources, coupled with good cost control and lower risk costs. We saw a reduction in net interest income resulting from margin pressure on liabilities combined with lower lending demand. Our easy, smart and personal digital-first offering keeps attracting customers, with a net increase of 213,000 primary customers over the quarter.
“Our ambition to keep transforming into a leading data-driven digital bank remains firm. However, the challenging external environment requires that we remain flexible in ‘how’ and ‘where’ we deliver our Think Forward strategy. We are therefore refocusing our activities to ensure faster client delivery and a continuously improving end-to-end digital customer experience. In Wholesale Banking, we will concentrate even more on core clients and simplify our geographical footprint, which will require fewer staff. This includes closing our offices in South America and some in Asia, while continuing to serve the international needs of clients from our regional hubs.
“In further developing our digital universal bank we’ll focus our efforts on three things: the global use of ING’s technology foundation – which includes our shared data lakes, cloud and modular IT building blocks; the re-use where possible of already developed mobile app components; and the rollout of global digital product offerings in the areas of insurance, investments and consumer lending. We’ve therefore decided to considerably reduce the scope of Maggie, a programme launched to provide a standardised customer experience and integrate the product offering in four of our European Challenger countries. The decision has been taken in light of the current economic headwinds and our learnings from the complexities and costs of cross-border system and product integration.
“The change in Maggie’s scope has led to an impairment of €140 million, primarily related to capitalised software development costs. The refocusing of our wholesale and retail activities will result in a headcount reduction of approximately 1,000 FTEs by year-end 2021.
“Today, we provide a capital update. Our new long-term CET1 ratio ambition level of around 12.5% translates into a ~200 bps buffer over current minimum regulatory requirements. We will manage well above this ambition level while Covid-19-related uncertainties remain. We also introduce a new distribution policy of a 50% pay-out ratio of resilient net profit, in the form of cash or a combination of cash and share repurchases. We believe this offers a sustainable and attractive return, and we will periodically review whether ING has structural excess capital available to return to shareholders. The execution of this policy will comply with prevailing ECB recommendations on shareholder distributions.
“We stay focused on our gatekeeper role and ensuring the security and compliance of the bank. Thanks to our KYC enhancements, ten more countries are now connected to our adverse media screening tool. We also support initiatives to collectively fight financial crime together with other banks and law enforcement and regulatory authorities. And we remain resolute in our efforts to combat the climate crisis and contribute to a low-carbon society. Our second Terra report now includes our targets for how we will align our lending with the Paris climate goals in our nine most carbon-intensive sectors. I’m proud of the progress we continue to make, and how we’re living up to the transformational role we play in the economy and in society.”
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFORMATION
Elements of this press release contain or may contain information about ING Groep N.V. and/ or ING Bank N.V. within the meaning of Article 7(1) to (4) of EU Regulation No 596/2014.
ING Group’s annual accounts are prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the European Union (‘IFRS- EU’). In preparing the financial information in this document, except as described otherwise, the same accounting principles are applied as in the 2019 ING Group consolidated annual accounts. All figures in this document are unaudited. Small differences are possible in the tables due to rounding.
Certain of the statements contained herein are not historical facts, including, without limitation, certain statements made of future expectations and other forward-looking statements that are based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Actual results, performance or events may differ materially from those in such statements due to a number of factors, including, without limitation: (1) changes in general economic conditions, in particular economic conditions in ING’s core markets, including changes affecting currency exchange rates, (2) the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and related response measures, including lockdowns and travel restrictions, on economic conditions in countries in which ING operates, on ING’s business and operations and on ING’s employees, customers and counterparties, (3) changes affecting interest rate levels, (4) any default of a major market participant and related market disruption, (5) changes in performance of financial markets, including in Europe and developing markets, (6) changes in the fiscal position and the future economic performance of the United States, including potential consequences of a downgrade of the sovereign credit rating of the US government, (7) consequences of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, (8) changes in or discontinuation of ‘benchmark’ indices, (9) inflation and deflation in our principal markets, (10) changes in conditions in the credit and capital markets generally, including changes in borrower and counterparty creditworthiness, (11) failures of banks falling under the scope of state compensation schemes, (12) non-compliance with or changes in laws and regulations, including those financial services and tax laws, and the interpretation and application thereof, (13) geopolitical risks, political instabilities and policies and actions of governmental and regulatory authorities, (14) ING’s ability to meet minimum capital and other prudential regulatory requirements, (15) outcome of current and future litigation, enforcement proceedings, investigations or other regulatory actions, including claims by customers, (16) operational risks, such as system disruptions or failures, breaches of security, cyber-attacks, human error, changes in operational practices or inadequate controls including in respect of third parties with which we do business, (17) risks and challenges related to cybercrime including the effects of cyber- attacks and changes in legislation and regulation related to cybersecurity and data privacy, (18) changes in general competitive factors, (19) the inability to protect our intellectual property and infringement claims by third parties, (20) changes in credit ratings, (21) business, operational, regulatory, reputation and other risks and challenges in connection with climate change, (22) inability to attract and retain key personnel, (23) future liabilities under defined benefit retirement plans, (24) failure to manage business risks, including in connection with use of models, use of derivatives, or maintaining appropriate policies and guidelines, (25) changes in capital and credit markets, including interbank funding, as well as customer deposits, which provide the liquidity and capital required to fund our operations, (26) the other risks and uncertainties detailed in the most recent annual report of ING Groep N.V. (including the Risk Factors contained therein) and ING’s more recent disclosures, including press releases, which are available on www.ING.com.
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