* ING is separating bank, insurance as part of bailout
* Job cuts since Nov 2011 total 9 pct of staff
* ING shares fall 1.5 pct
* Q4 net profit 1.434 bln euros, up 21 pct
(Adds CEO comment, cost detail, link to interview)
By Sara Webb and Gilbert Kreijger
AMSTERDAM, Feb 13 Dutch financial services group
ING announced deeper job cuts in retail banking as it
prepares to separate its banking and insurance operations under
the terms of a state bailout.
ING is dismantling its once-fashionable bancassurer model
after the 2008 bailout, divesting insurance and investment
management and other assets through disposals or stock market
listings as it prepares to repay the aid.
The group, which had already announced about 2,400 job cuts
in November, said the new lay-offs at IT and call centres were
needed to lower costs in its Dutch and Belgian retail banks.
Explaining the cost cuts, it said more of its customers were
shifting their banking online.
Internet banking is well-established in the Netherlands and
ING had been a market leader with its standalone online banks,
ING Direct, in several markets.
"Customers are rapidly moving towards more digital
environments, more online usage and less of the traditional
approach, and we have to respond to that," Chief Financial
Officer Patrick Flynn told Reuters. "Our more traditional retail
entities in the Netherlands and Belgium are moving in the same
ING said it would cut 2,400 jobs in the Netherlands and
Belgium, bringing lay-offs announced over the past 15 months to
7,500 - or roughly 9 percent of its workforce at the end of
It said this would save about 1 billion euros ($1.35
billion) in annual costs by 2015.
ING Chief Executive Jan Hommen, who declined to say whether
he would retire from the bank this year, did not rule out
further cuts. The Dutch firm's shares fell 1.5 percent after it
released 2012 results and announced the cuts.
Reuters Insider interview with CFO Patrick Flynn
Economy 2013: ING swings the jobs axe:
On Wednesday, ING reported fourth-quarter net profit of
1.434 billion euros ($1.93 billion), up 21 percent from a year
ago thanks to gains from divestments but below a consensus
analyst forecast of 1.587 billion euros.
Underlying pre-tax profit for ING's banking operations was
184 million euros, down 72 percent from a year ago, while the
insurance unit swung from a loss of 1.51 billion euros to an
underlying pre-tax profit of 272 million euros.
Analysts had expected the banking and insurance arms to
report underlying profit of 290 million and 265 million
Many European banks are laying off workers and simplifying
their activities after the financial crisis led to more
conservative lending policies and forced them to bolster their
capital to cover investment risks.
British bank Barclays said this week it would cut
at least 3,700 jobs. Several other European lenders, including
Deutsche Bank and Swiss UBS, have also shed
staff in recent months as they reassess their businesses.
($1 = 0.7427 euros)
(Reporting by Sara Webb; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)