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ING spells the end of Bancassurance

ING’s European Commission-enforced restructuring is rather different to the continuation of strategy that the bank is trying to claim. Analysts are starting to question the entire premise that banking and insurance can work together. Louise Bowman reports.

  Neelie Kroes, European Commission

"It is only an arrogant culture in banking that could have fooled itself to think that the Commission was not serious about change"

Neelie Kroes, European Commission

WHEN EUROPEAN COMPETITION commissioner Neelie Kroes announced in early November that she was not "some kind of bank destroyer" there must have been a few rather hollow laughs at the Amsterdam headquarters of ING. The comment came just days after the announcement of a break-up of the group that was wider reaching than anyone had expected. The sheer scale of the carve-up was the greatest shock. Bank and insurance operations are to be split to eliminate double leverage, and the insurance and asset management operations are then to be sold along with ING Direct in the US. The group has also agreed to carve out Interadvies (West Utrecht Mortgage Bank and the banking activities of Nationale-Nederlanden) and the consumer credit business from its Dutch retail banking operations to form a new standalone entity.

This dissection will mean that ING’s total assets shrink from the €1.3

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