Dutch bank ING cuts thousands of staff in digital transformation

Dutch bank ING will cut 1,700 staff over the next three years as it reduces its number of IT systems through automation

Dutch bank ING will cut thousands of staff in its back offices, callcentres and IT department over the next three years as it reduces its number of IT systems through automation.

The bank said it is moving to simplified IT systems and automation at a cost of €200m for two years from 2015. It expects to save €270m per year from 2018.

It is cutting 1,700 full-time employees and reducing the number of contractors it employs by 1,075.

“To improve the customer experience and enhance operational excellence, ING will take measures to further expand digital banking, strengthen local advisory capabilities in the branch network and make additional IT investments in its Dutch retail banking unit," said the bank.

ING CEO Ralph Hamers said customers are using a range of channels for their banking needs. 

“They expect to do their banking the way they want, when they want and in a consistent, reliable, clear and easy way. In this environment we need to continuously improve our service. We are creating a consistent customer experience by integrating our service channels in the Netherlands and by making a substantial investment to simplify and upgrade our IT systems,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the more efficient way of working will impact many of our employees.”

Changing customer habits bring job cuts

At present ING uses different IT systems for its mobile apps, websites, callcentres and branches and not all customer information is readily available in each channel. 

“By moving to an omni-channel approach, customers can do all their banking digitally and the information will be available across all channels to provide a better, more seamless service,” said Hamers.

But ING's are not the only bank staff facing redundancy as a result of its digital transformation.

In October 2014, Lloyds Banking Group confirmed it will cut 9,000 jobs and close around 150 branches to focus on its digital strategy and increase automated processes.

In November 2013 Barclays announced plans to cut 1,700 frontline jobs across the UK as part of a strategy to reduce the number of branches as more and more customers use technology to do their banking.

Read more on IT for financial services

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