“I’m proud of ING’s resilient results over 2020 and that more people continued to choose us as their primary bank, even as the year was defined by the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19 and its impact on our customers, business clients and society,” said CEO Steven van Rijswijk. “This shows that our mobile- and digital-first capabilities, coupled with our strong network, are delivering value to customers and meeting their needs.
“We continue to see a healthy demand for mortgages. We also observed people spending less in lockdown, which resulted in an increase in savings. The demand for business and consumer loans has declined, given the lower economic activity and increased uncertainty. Considerably more customers are choosing ING as their bank for investment products, which has resulted in healthy growth of fee and commission income. Risk costs, though higher for the full year, dropped 51% in the fourth quarter compared to the year-earlier period, while operational expenses remained under control. Our capital position strengthened further to 15.5% and we propose a dividend payout in line with recommendations by the European Central Bank.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been talking to thousands of customers a week and have granted €19.4 billion in payment holidays. We’ve been making sure employees are supported technically, physically and mentally to work from home, and we continued providing community support by making donations and funding social projects.
“In addition to providing payment relief, we’re also working to support the economy where needed. For example, we joined the European Investment Bank to lend nearly €800 million on favourable terms to Dutch small and medium-sized enterprises that are affected by the economic impact of Covid-19.
“In 2021, we’ll continue to make sure that our bank is safe, secure and compliant. We’ll continue to work on cost efficiency and providing a good return for our shareholders. We’ll keep decisively executing our strategy so we continue to build on our position as a digital leader in banking. Our customers continue to be our priority, giving them a differentiating experience while supporting them where we can to weather the effects of the pandemic on their lives, their finances and their businesses.”
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFORMATION
Elements of this press release contain or may contain information about ING Groep N.V. and/ or ING Bank N.V. within the meaning of Article 7(1) to (4) of EU Regulation No 596/2014.
ING Group’s annual accounts are prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the European Union (‘IFRSEU’). In preparing the financial information in this document, except as described otherwise, the same accounting principles are applied as in the 2019 ING Group consolidated annual accounts. The Financial statements for 2020 are in progress and may be subject to adjustments from subsequent events. All figures in this document are unaudited. Small differences are possible in the tables due to rounding.
Certain of the statements contained herein are not historical facts, including, without limitation, certain statements made of future expectations and other forward-looking statements that are based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Actual results, performance or events may differ materially from those in such statements due to a number of factors, including, without limitation: (1) changes in general economic conditions, in particular economic conditions in ING’s core markets, including changes affecting currency exchange rates, (2) the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and related response measures, including lockdowns and travel restrictions, on economic conditions in countries in which ING operates, on ING’s business and operations and on ING’s employees, customers and counterparties, (3) changes affecting interest rate levels, (4) any default of a major market participant and related market disruption, (5) changes in performance of financial markets, including in Europe and developing markets, (6) changes in the fiscal position and the future economic performance of the United States, including potential consequences of a downgrade of the sovereign credit rating of the US government, (7) consequences of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, (8) changes in or discontinuation of ‘benchmark’ indices, (9) inflation and deflation in our principal markets, (10) changes in conditions in the credit and capital markets generally, including changes in borrower and counterparty creditworthiness, (11) failures of banks falling under the scope of state compensation schemes, (12) non-compliance with or changes in laws and regulations, including those financial services and tax laws, and the interpretation and application thereof, (13) geopolitical risks, political instabilities and policies and actions of governmental and regulatory authorities, (14) ING’s ability to meet minimum capital and other prudential regulatory requirements, (15) outcome of current and future litigation, enforcement proceedings, investigations or other regulatory actions, including claims by customers, (16) operational risks, such as system disruptions or failures, breaches of security, cyber-attacks, human error, changes in operational practices or inadequate controls including in respect of third parties with which we do business, (17) risks and challenges related to cybercrime including the effects of cyberattacks and changes in legislation and regulation related to cybersecurity and data privacy, (18) changes in general competitive factors, (19) the inability to protect our intellectual property and infringement claims by third parties, (20) changes in credit ratings, (21) business, operational, regulatory, reputation and other risks and challenges in connection with climate change, (22) inability to attract and retain key personnel, (23) future liabilities under defined benefit retirement plans, (24) failure to manage business risks, including in connection with use of models, use of derivatives, or maintaining appropriate policies and guidelines, (25) changes in capital and credit markets, including interbank funding, as well as customer deposits, which provide the liquidity and capital required to fund our operations, (26) the other risks and uncertainties detailed in the most recent annual report of ING Groep N.V. (including the Risk Factors contained therein) and ING’s more recent disclosures, including press releases, which are available on www.ING.com.
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