* Cuts jobs to strengthen operations before split
* 1,350 jobs go at European insurance, 1,000 at banking
* Q3 net profit 609 mln euros vs 872 mln forecast
* Shares up 1.4 pct
AMSTERDAM, Nov 7 ING, the largest Dutch
financial services group, is to cut more than 2,000 jobs
worldwide as it prepares to separate its banking and insurance
operations in difficult markets.
The cuts, which equate to 2.5 percent of ING's workforce,
come as banks across Europe shed staff in a reassessment of
their businesses after the financial crisis.
Swiss bank UBS announced last month it was to cut
10,000 jobs as it winds down its fixed income division, while
Deutsche Bank increased its job cut target to almost 2,000
ING, which missed third-quarter net profit forecasts by a
wide margin on Wednesday, is dismantling its once-fashionable
bancassurer model as a condition of the state bailout it
received in 2008.
It is also divesting insurance and investment management
operations and other assets through disposals or stock market
listings as it prepares to repay the aid and bolster its
ING said it was to cut 1,350 out of a total 12,000 full-time
equivalent jobs at its European insurance operations and 1,000
at commercial banking, out of 10,500 worldwide. It employed a
total 94,000 people at the end of June.
The company said the redundancies would be made over two
years. It was not clear when they will start.
The restructuring would "increase the agility" of ING and in
an uncertain environment, chief executive Jan Hommen said.
The bank will complete the disposal of overseas operations,
selling its ING Direct in the UK and Canada, in a retreat to its
home market, he said. The group has already sold a stake in
Capital One, the U.S. bank holding company.
ING expects annual savings of 260 million euros from 2015
onwards in the banking business and savings of about 200 million
euros by the end of 2014 in insurance, Hommen said.
Speaking to Reuters Insider, chief financial officer Patrick
Flynn did not rule out further cuts.
"We will continue to look at what is in the interests of
ING's investors and take the appropriate decisions," he said.
ING announced last year it was to cut 2,700 jobs, or 10
percent of staff, at its Dutch retail banking operations in the
face of deteriorating markets, following similar announcements
by Dutch rivals ABN AMRO and Rabobank.
The Dutch central bank has said banks were inefficient
compared with foreign rivals, and it saw room to cut costs.
ING's plans "deal a heavy blow to employees," the FNV
Bondgenoten trade union said.
The company also said on Wednesday it made a third-quarter
net profit of 609 million euros ($780 million), well below a
forecast for 872 million in a Reuters poll.
ING Groep shares rose 1.4 percent in Amsterdam morning
trading to 6.98 euros.