Banking giant Barclays agrees to buy ING Direct UK


Barclays has agreed to purchase ING Direct UK in a deal that will see it acquire another 1.5 million customers.

The acquisition of the savings and mortgage firm will boost the banking giant’s own savings business by £10.9 billion, and its mortgage book by £5.6 billion.

Barclays, which will also take on around 750 ING Direct employees, said it would honour existing terms and conditions for ING Direct customers.

Barclays said it was too early to say what the impact would be on ING staff once the deal is completed, which is expected to happen in the second quarter of next year, subject to regulatory approval. ING Direct has call centres in Cardiff and Reading, where it also has its head office.

The deal comes after Dutch group ING put its British and Canadian online banking businesses under review in August as it seeks to raise funds to repay cash owed after a state bailout at the height of the financial crisis.

ING said it would incur a £260 million loss on the sale, as it has agreed to sell its mortgages to Barclays at a 3 per cent discount to the book value.

Jan Hommen, chief executive of ING, said: "ING Direct UK operated in a very competitive market over the past years and I am proud of the excellent customer experience our UK team has built."

Ashok Vaswani, head of Barclays retail and business banking arm in the UK, said: "We intend to maintain the high standard of service and honour the existing terms and conditions (customers) have experienced with ING Direct UK."

ING first launched its online banking venture ING Direct in the UK in 2003 and continues to run similar businesses in Australia, Austria, France, Germany and Italy.

The group has already been forced to sell several businesses after receiving billions of pounds from the Dutch government in 2008.

Last year it sold its US business ING Direct for around 9 billion US dollars (£5.8 billion) and Dutch banking business Westerland-Utrecht.