ING Cuts 2,700 Jobs, Takes Hit on Greek Bonds

By Markets FOXBusiness

Dutch financial services giant ING (ING) says it will cut 2,700 jobs in an effort to save costs and increase efficiency amid deteriorating global economic conditions.

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The cuts will be taken from its Dutch retail banking operations, with 2,000 being full-time positions, reducing the group’s headcount by 10%, and another 700 contract positions.

"As income is coming under pressure, we must renew efforts to reduce expenses across the group to adapt to the leaner environment and maintain our competitive position,” ING chief executive Jan Hommen said in a statement.

The move follows similar measures taken by its domestic rivals, including ABN AMRO, which is cutting 2,350 jobs, and Rabobank, which is slashing 1,200 jobs, amid a downturn in the global financial market. Other companies around the globe including Credit Suisse (CS) and JPMorgan (JPM) have also been forced to cut down.

The company took a 467 million euro pre-tax writedown on Greek government bonds last quarter and said it has now written down all of its bonds to market value and reduced exposure to “peripheral” euro zone bonds by more than 5 billion euros.

"The third quarter saw a marked deterioration on debt and equity markets amid a slowdown in the macroeconomic environment and a deepening of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe,” Hommen said. "We continued to take a prudent approach to risk, increasing hedging to preserve capital and selectively reducing exposures to southern Europe.”

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On Thursday, when the company reported its third-quarter earnings, European leaders were preparing for the possibility of debt-ridden Greece falling out of the euro zone.

ING shares, which have fallen around 15% this week on Europe's debt problems, were up 2% on Thursday morning. 

The company revised its year-earlier net profit to 239 million euro, when results were impacted by writedowns related to U.S. insurance operations. ING, which said the year-ago figures were restated to reflect a change in accounting policy, posted a profit of 1.6 billion euro last period.

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