ING Direct USA Reportedly Being Shopped

Dutch banking giant ING Group (NYSE:ING) has reportedly begun its efforts to unload ING Direct USA -- the largest direct bank in the U.S. -- in a sale that could go as high as $10 billion.

According to the New York Post, the sales process for the unit, which has about $100 billion in assets, kicked off over the past several weeks. Cash raised from a sale of ING Direct would be used to pay back about $13 billion in bailout money received from the Dutch government.

ING’s U.S.-listed shares jumped 3.10% to $12.65 ahead of Wednesday’s open in the wake of the report.

Known for its orange ball logo, ING Direct has received interest from a number of potential strategic buyers, including CIT Group (NYSE:CIT), the consumer lender run by ex-Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, the Post reported. CIT’s stock was little changed in the premarkets.

It’s not clear if ING Group is attempting to sell off all or part of its stake in ING Direct.

Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) is said to be handling the auction on behalf of ING.