Another foreign bank exits retail banking in Philippines  

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star
Another foreign bank exits retail banking in Philippines  
ING is the second foreign bank to exit the Philippines’ retail banking segment since the pandemic struck. Citi is now in the process of transferring its consumer banking business to UnionBank.

MANILA, Philippines — Dutch financial giant ING Bank is exiting the retail banking market in the Philippines, the second foreign bank to leave the country’s consumer banking segment after global banking giant Citi sold its business to Aboitiz-led Union Bank of the Philippines. In a statement, ING said it would leave the retail banking market in the Philippines before the end of the year, but would further invest in wholesale banking business and expand its global  shared services operations.

ING is the second foreign bank to exit the Philippines’ retail banking segment since the pandemic struck. Citi is now in the process of transferring its consumer banking business to UnionBank.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that ING Bank NV is the 32nd largest bank in the Philippines in terms of assets with P31.46 billion and 33rd in terms of capital with P4.51 billion as of end-2021. It ranked 57th in terms of deposits with P15.77 billion and 31st in terms of net loans with P11.28 billion.

Hans Sicat, country head of ING Philippines, said the foreign bank has a history in the Philippines that goes back more than 30 years.

“In that time, we’ve developed strong and steady partnerships with a  number of the country’s largest corporations and financial institutions. We are proud of our  leading positions in M&A, corporate advisory and capital markets,” Sicat said.

ING has been present in the Philippines since 1990, serving corporate and institutional clients. It has around 120 employees in both wholesale and retail banking in the country.

The Dutch bank ventured into the retail banking space in late 2018 and currently serves more than 380,000 customers with savings accounts, current accounts and consumer lending.

ING’s retail business in the Philippines was intended as the first step and foundation for a  broader Asia retail banking plan. Since its launch in 2018, the business has demonstrated good  progress, commercial momentum and growth potential.

However, the uncertain global macro  situation in the last few years led to ING deciding not to expand the activities to other  countries, which meant that the retail operations in the Philippines had to be reassessed for  its scalability as a standalone business.

In June last year, ING announced that it was also leaving the retail banking market in France where it has been active since 2000 as an online bank. It serves around one million customers in France.

“ING will continue to invest in growing our wholesale banking business to strengthen our  position in the country, and we have plans to increase our focus on sustainable finance. Our  high-profile hires are steps in this direction. We hope to take advantage of the growth  prospects in various sectors like renewable energy, technology, media and telecommunications,  infrastructure, financial institutions, among others,” Sicat said.

With the exit, ING said retail customers in the Philippines need not do anything now as there is no change to their  accounts. Clients can still access their funds and accounts any time and their money  remains safe and secure.

ING through IBSS Manila (ING Business Shared Services) has more than 3,000 employees from less than 50 when it was established in 2013.

The workforce provides 24/7 global support services for ING in areas such as financial markets, lending services, client due diligence and  on-boarding activities, risk management, retail operations, non-financial risk and compliance as well as information technology.

According to ING, it continues to invest in growing its position of supporting ING operations in more  than 40 markets.

“Extended capabilities and services have driven our growth and development in recent years.  We have had to move to bigger premises several times since 2013; and have plans to take up  an additional 12 floors in One Ayala Tower 2 in the next few months to accommodate our  growing diverse teams as we take on additional projects and services this year and beyond,” IBSS Manila CEO Cees Ovelgonne said.

Aside from the Philippines, ING also offers wholesale banking across 10 other markets namely Australia, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam in Asia Pacific. It also offers both retail and wholesale banking services in Australia.


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