BUSINESS ING bank posts solid 2019 results in 'difficult' conditions

BUSINESS

ING bank posts solid 2019 results in 'difficult' conditions

AFP

18:28, February 06, 2020

Dutch banking giant ING reported Thursday "solid" results for 2019 despite a "difficult" environment and continued high costs incurred over a money laundering probe.

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A logo of Dutch ING bank is pictured at the European Union headquarters on September 17, 2009 in Brussels. (Photo: AFP)

Net profit for last year came in at 4.78 billion euros ($5.3 billion), up slightly on 2018 when it had to pay a fine of 775 million euros over a fraud case.

ING said total income edged up 1.2 percent from 2018 to 18.3 billion euros.

For the three months to December alone, the Netherlands' biggest bank said net profit was down nearly 31 percent from a year earlier at 880 million euros on total income of 4.44 billion euros, little changed.

"Looking back at 2019, we see a year of solid commercial performance despite the challenging (interest) rate environment, geopolitical uncertainties and an increasingly complex and demanding regulatory environment. The fourth quarter of 2019 proved challenging," CEO Ralph Hamers said in a results statement.

"I’m proud of our commercial performance as pricing discipline and growth helped counter the pressure of negative interest rates," Hamers added.

Like most banks, ING has been under pressure from the record low interest rates adopted by the authorities to boost the economy.

ING also said that "fighting financial and economic crime remains a priority. We achieved milestones in our programme to improve the way we manage non-financial risk."

The results failed to impress investors with ING shares down nearly 1.9 percent in early trade while the broader Amsterdam market was up 0.5 percent.

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