ING withdraws from the French online banking market

Dutch bank ING announced on Tuesday December 21 that it was withdrawing from the online banking market in France. 460 jobs will be eliminated, and discussions are underway with competitors to take over its customer portfolio.

Losses recorded for many years

In a press release issued on Tuesday, Dutch banking group ING announced its decision to leave the French online banking market.

Only its corporate and investment banking activities (Wholesale Banking) will be maintained in the country, " with the aim of consolidating its place in the market and its positioning as the benchmark bank for sustainable finance ".

Present in France since 2000, ING was the country's first online bank. Its Orange savings account, with its attractive interest rate, was one of its flagship products, attracting a large number of customers. However, the Dutch group's French subsidiary continued to make losses and struggled to expand.

Its decision to withdraw from the French market comes, according to the group, following a strategic review of its retail banking activities, conducted since June 2021.

Several banks positioned to buy ING's customer portfolio

The French branch employs no fewer than 700 people, for whom the news is a blow, even if it comes as no surprise. A job protection plan (PSE) will be implemented, and 460 positions will be eliminated.

In its press release, the bank announces that it is " currently investigating with third parties the possibility of concluding an agreement concerning its customer portfolio ". No further details are given, but discussions are ongoing.

ING's customer portfolio includes 1 million individuals, but around half of them only hold an Orange savings account. 3 banks are still in the running for the takeover: Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale, and Société Générale.

For each of these establishments, the acquisition of ING's customer portfolio would be an opportunity to strengthen their online banking activities: Fortuneo for Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, Monabanq for Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale and Boursorama for Société Générale.

Societe Generale would be well placed to win this battle, which would enable it to accelerate its development towards its goal of surpassing the 4 million customer mark by 2023. At September 30, it had 3.1 million customers. Buying ING's customer portfolio would not, however, enable it to gain 1 million customers, as only a small proportion of them are actually active.

By 2021, ING will have decided to cease its retail banking activities in 3 countries: France, the Czech Republic and Austria.