ING Announces Layoffs Of Thousands, A Day After Barclays Did The Same; Here’s A Roundup Of Recent Workforce Cuts To Financial Services

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Dutch banking giant ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING) announced on Wednesday the latest in what is becoming a regular stream of bad news: more job cuts in the financial services sector, especially in Europe, which has seen the banking sector reel amid the region’s sovereign debt crisis.

ING said in its quarterly earnings report that it is laying off 2,400 staffers from its Dutch and Belgian retail operations to cut the operating costs of its information technology and call centers. This brings the tally of layoffs at the world’s 16th-largest bank to 7,500, or about 10 percent of its workforce, since November 2011.

"Customers are rapidly moving towards more digital environments, more online usage and less of the traditional approach, and we have to respond to that," Chief Financial Officer Patrick Flynn told Reuters in defense of the reductions to the bank's traditional retail banking operations.

The company said in its quarterly report that it laid off 1,308 employees in the last quarter. The additional workforce reductions will be phased in through 2015.

“2012 was a transformational year for ING as we worked decisively on the restructuring of the Group, preparing the Bank and Insurance companies for independent futures,” said Jan Hommen, CEO of ING Group, in announcing the earnings. Hommen highlighted major divestments in the bank's Asian insurance business. With the spinoffs, layoffs and scaling back of retail operations, ING says it will save $1.35 billion a year through 2015.

The news comes after Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS), the world’s seventh-largest bank, announced on Tuesday that it was carving 3,700 jobs out of its workforce to cut costs by $2.6 billion. The cuts will be spread between the British company’s Asian investment banking operations and its European retail and investment banking.

Other recently announced bank layoffs include:

- Munich’s Commerzbank AG (ETR:CBK), Germany’s second-largest financial institution, said late last month it would cut up to 6,000 positions worldwide by 2016.

- London’s Lloyds Banking Group PLC (NYSE:LYG) will let go of 940 more workers. It already laid off 8,000 and plans to dismiss as many as 15,000 in total by 2015.

- Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) said late last year it would begin slashing 11,000 jobs worldwide after it already trimmed its workforce by a quarter.

- Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) in January announced that it would shed 3 percent of its workforce, or 1,600 jobs.

- Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) has laid off more than half of its planned 30,000 staff reductions.

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