ING reports 2017 Q4 financial results

CEO statement
"Our commitment to our customers and progress in accelerating our Think Forward strategy are evident in the good results and continued customer growth we posted for both the fourth quarter and full year 2017," said Ralph Hamers, CEO of ING.

"Our global customer base grew to 37.4 million over the year, including a 900,000 increase in the number of primary customers to 10.8 million. Our most recent net promoter scores among customers rank us first in 9 of our 13 retail markets, an achievement I am quite proud of."

"We continue to improve the experience of our customers through both our own innovations as well as through strategic partnerships. In the Netherlands, a new digital tool for small business customers links receipts and bills directly to transactions, giving customers one platform for their administration and banking. And just this week, we agreed to acquire a 75% stake in leading payments service provider Payvision, a partnership we think will strongly benefit our customers."

"Innovation is changing banking at lightning speed. One such change is blockchain, which has the potential to profoundly alter financial services by making banking better, safer, simpler, faster and cheaper for clients. Blockchain is a priority for us as we build the bank of the future, and our team had a couple of major achievements recently. These include creating blockchain code that's nearly 10 times more efficient in ensuring privacy, and using blockchain to create digital platforms for agricultural and energy commodity trades, the latter through a venture with other partners. These are milestones, and the collaboration required to achieve them symbolises the very spirit of cooperation inherent to blockchain's success."

"We strive to make a positive impact on the world through our financing and took important steps in the fourth quarter to contribute to a low-carbon and self-reliant society, which is the focus of our sustainability activities. For example, we announced that we will accelerate the reduction of our exposure to coal power generation to close to zero by 2025. This is part of our eff ort to support the energy transition that's needed to combat climate change."

"Wholesale Banking is an important contributor to the success of our Think Forward strategy. In November we announced that the Wholesale Banking business will be aligned even more around the needs and expectations of our clients, including initiatives to move to a stronger sector organisation and strengthen our international network. This will help us become a more efficient, client-focused business that offers a consistent experience across borders."

"Overall, there was strong commercial growth over 2017, with EUR 26.9 billion of net core lending growth at resilient margins and a EUR 19.0 billion net increase in customer deposits. ING's full-year underlying pre-tax result rose 2.4% to EUR 7,199 million, and the full-year underlying return on equity was 10.2%. Operating expenses rose in the fourth quarter as we stepped up our digital investments. We remain committed to the targets we communicated when we announced the acceleration of the Think Forward Strategy in October 2016. We are pleased to propose a full-year 2017 cash dividend of EUR 0.67 per share, comprising the August 2017 interim dividend of EUR 0.24 and a final dividend of EUR 0.43 per share."

"I'm proud of the steps we took in 2017 to prepare ING for the future while executing on our Customer Promise. The continued growth of new customers coming to ING shows that we are living up to this promise and empowering customers to stay a step ahead in life and in business."

Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker

Diary of Activities
Malaysia Innovation Tour
19 - 22 March 2018 | Malaysia
Digital Finance 2018
22 March 2018 | Malaysia
The Future of Finance, West Africa
16 - 18 April 2018 | Nigeria
Beijing Innovation Tour
21 - 23 May 2018 | China