Barclays takes over ING Direct’s UK operations

Barclays to integrate Dutch bank’s 1.5m customers into UK business as ING withdraws from UK retail market

Barclays is taking over the ING Direct business in the UK after the Dutch bank put the high-profile mortgage and savings business under review in the summer.

The business employs 750 people and has call centres in Reading and Cardiff. Under the deal, 1.5 million customers will transfer to Barclays, which will integrate the business into its UK banking operation as the Dutch bank pulls out of the UK retail market. Its commercial businesses are not affected.

It is Barclays’s first deal since Antony Jenkins was appointed chief executive to replace Bob Diamond in the wake of the Libor-rigging scandal, and the size of the savings book being acquired will immediately halve the so-called funding gap – the difference between deposits and savings – of Barclays’s UK arm.

ING Direct in the UK has deposits of £10.9bn and a mortgage book with outstanding balances of £5.6bn as at 31 August.

ING, which is effectively handing the operation to Barclays, will make a loss of €320m (£258m) after tax and release capital of €330m used to support the business, which was launched in 2003 at a time when online and phone-based banks were chasing mortgage and savings business.

ING said the disposal was part of an effort to sharpen the focus of the bank.

Ashok Vaswani, the chief executive of Barclays UK retail and business banking, said “the high standard of service” would be maintained.

“The acquisition of ING Direct UK is a good fit with Barclays existing UK retail banking business,” he added.

Sandy Chen, banks analyst at Cenkos, said: “Although we think this is a good opportunistic acquisition for the UK retail banking business, it isn’t material in the context of Barclays’s £1.6tn balance sheet and £409bn of customer deposits.”

Jill Treanor © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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