AMSTERDAM Dec 4 (Reuters) - The Dutch state said on Wednesday it would start a competitive auction for the portfolio of U.S. mortgage securities that it took over from ING during the financial crisis.
Last month, the Dutch state said it would sell the 6.4 billion euro ($8.7 billion) portfolio, which it took on in 2009 to help preserve financial stability in the banking sector.
"The decision ... is based on the continued improvement in the U.S. housing market and a high level of interest by investors for non-agency residential mortgage backed securities," the Dutch State Treasury Agency (DSTA), which will handle the sale, said in a statement.
"While the DSTA expects that it will be able to divest the assets within a period of 12 months, there will be no fixed deadline for completion of the sale of the portfolio," it added.
The original arrangement between the government and ING was intended to reduce risk and uncertainty for ING stemming from its portfolio of U.S. Alt-A mortgage securities, and was provided by the state on top of a 10 billion euro capital injection.