ING cuts 2,400 more jobs as profits plunge

Dutch banking and insurance group ING reported on Wednesday a 32.5-percent plunge in net profit last year and said that it intended to cut 2,400 jobs in its operations in the Netherlands and Belgium.

The group reported a net profit for 2013 of 3.89 billion euros ($5.2 billion), a nearly one-third drop from the 2011 level.

It said that the fall reflected restructuring costs, losses on the sale of high-risk assets and charges linked to products in the United States offering a guaranteed fixed income.

However, fourth-quarter profits were up 20.9 percent year-on-year at 1.43 billion euros thanks to the sale of online division ING Direct Canada and insurance interests in Malaysia.

"Retail Banking Netherlands is expanding the transformation programme started in 2011, leading to approximately 1,400 additional redundancies by the end of 2015 and reducing expenses by an additional 120 million euros per annum from 2016 onwards," ING boss Jan Hommen said in a statement.

A further 1,000 jobs will be shed in Belgium through "natural attrition", leading to 150 million euros in annual cost savings by 2015, the bank said.

Hommen said the cuts were "essential to drive future performance" and accounted for 452 million euros in restructuring costs in 2012.

The bank, which employs about 90,000 people, has so far announced 7,450 job losses since November 2011, restructuring that will save more than one billion euros per annum from 2015.

ING said in November it had reached an agreement with the European Commission giving the bank more time to sell its insurance interests and to repay the remainder of the 10 billion euros it received in state aid in 2008.