European banks are desperately trying to find ways to save money in these straitened times. ING, a major Dutch lender, announced this week that it plans to save €900 million ($1 billion) a year by cutting 5,800 jobs as part of a “digital transformation.” A further 1,200 employees will have their jobs changed or moved.
This transformation doesn’t come cheap. ING plans to invest €800 million over the next five years on technology that will standardize its infrastructure, data, and other processes into “one digital banking platform.” Most of the job losses will be full-time staff in Belgium and the Netherlands, where risk management, finance, HR, and IT functions will be centralized. In Belgium, the number of ING branches will be cut to 650, from 1,200.
The bank is setting aside €1.1 billion for redundancy payments. Added to the IT investments, the rough bill for replacing people with machines will run to the equivalent of more than $2 billion.
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