ING attracts more customers despite pay scandal

The Hague (AFP) –


Dutch bank ING said Wednesday its net profits climbed at the start of the year as it continued to attract new customers, according to the first figures released since the lender was forced to back down on plans to double executive pay following a public outcry.

Net profits rose by 7.2 percent to 1.22 billion euros ($1.44 billion) in the first three months of this year.

Overall customer numbers rose by more than 400,000 during the quarter to 37.8 million, while lending rose by 12.3 billion euros.

The figures are the first since the bank, which was bailed out by the Dutch state in 2008 during the global financial crisis, was forced abandon plans to double the pay of its chief executive after adverse public opinion.

The bank has sought to embrace digital banking and new technologies, and CEO Ralph Hamers noted several developments, including acquiring a majority stake in a leading firm that provides e-commerce and regular payments services.

He also noted its open-banking platform Yolt in Britain has attracted more than a quarter million customers. Yolt takes advantage of new regulations in Europe to make it easier for users to manage several bank accounts and credit cards via one smartphone app.

It also rolled out in several countries the option for its retail customers to invest into ETFs, or exchange traded fund, which track a certain stock exchange and have become increasingly popular among investors.

ING shares slid 0.8 percent in morning trading in Amsterdam.