Top Dutch bank ING post three-fold jump in 2015 profit

The Hague (AFP) –


Top Dutch bank ING more than tripled its profit last year on the back of a recovering economy and an increase in lending, it said on Thursday.

Net profits stood at just over 4.01 billion euros ($4.47 billion), up by 220.5 percent year-on-year, while turnover jumped 8.2 percent to 16.55 billion euros, it said in a statement.

In 2014 ING saw profits plunge by 64 percent because of a major restructuring.

Loans increased last year by 21.7 billion euros, or 4.2 percent, while customer deposits was up 5.1 percent by 25.1 billion euros.

ING's shares bounced up 8.0 percent to 10.45 euros in mid-morning trade on the Amsterdam stock exchange's AEX index following the announcement.

"This improvement was primarily driven by higher interest results on the back of strong lending growth and lower risk costs, and despite a substantial increase in regulatory costs," said ING chief executive Ralf Hamers.

ING in March last year sold off the last stake it held in its former US insurance unit Voya and has greatly reduced its stake in local insurer NN, in which it currently owns a 14.1 percent share.

The move has brought ING "closer to completing our restructuring and consolidating our position as one of Europe's leading banks," ING said.

ING was bailed out to the tune of 10 billion euros in 2008 after the global financial crisis struck, but the European Commission obliged it to exit the insurance business.

ING paid off the 10 billion euros plus interest it owed the Dutch government in November 2014, well ahead of time.

The Amsterdam-based bank announced a full-year dividend of 0.65 euros a share.

ING, which employs 52,300 people, said in November it was cutting 1,700 jobs in the Netherlands over the next three years as part of the restructuring, and as it expanded its IT platforms.