Dutch ING Bank sells UK online arm ING Direct to Barclays

Dutch banking group ING Groep NV (AMS:INGA) on Tuesday said it had agreed to shed its British online banking business ING Direct UK to Barclays Plc (LON:BARC), without disclosing the value of the transaction.

The move is part of ING’s ongoing business portfolio review, serving its strategy to sharpen banking focus, the vendor said.

The agreed terms call for ING to transfer ING Direct UK’s GBP10.9bn (USD17.5bn/EUR13.5bn) savings deposits and its GBP5.6bn mortgages to Barclays, with the buyer to integrate these operations into its retail and banking division in the UK.

In a comment, ING’s CEO Jan Hommen pointed out that ING Direct UK’s new owner will continue providing the same services to the unit’s 1.5m customers in the UK.

Set up in 2003, ING Direct UK has some 750 employees as at 31 August 2012.
Its current parent expects a capital release of around EUR330m and a transaction loss after tax of some EUR320m from the disposal, which it sees to have a neutral impact on its core Tier 1 ratio.

ING Bank will keep part of its UK investment portfolio worth EUR9bn as of 31 August 2012, while liquidating another part of it to facilitate the transaction. The deal will not affect the ING commercial banking operations in the UK, the vendor said.

Subject to regulatory approvals, the transfer if ING Direct UK’s operations is seen to complete in the second quarter of 2013.

UPDATE 2: No problems with HSBC’s internet banking system

Banking giant HSBC has contacted Financial News and confirmed that there currently are no problems with the bank’s internet banking system.

Nigel Hinshelwood, UK Retail Bank Chief Operating Officer at HSBC said: “There are no problems with payments going through our internet banking system. All payments made are being processed, and within normal processing times.”

Earlier today, an HSBC business banking client told Financial News that the bank was unable to process internet banking payments and any payments that had been made this morning were currently trapped ‘in-limbo’ with HSBC unable to give customers any guidance on when the payments would be processed.

The source added that this was the explanation given by the designated HSBC relationship manager. The source contacted Financial News later and said that payments were again being processed around midday today.

The earlier Financial News story follows:

HSBC Bank plc have experienced an internet banking failure today (17 September, 2012).  The bank is currently unable to process internet banking payments and any payments that have been made this morning are currently trapped ‘in-limbo’ with HSBC unable to give customers any guidance on when the payments will be processed.

Customers are being told not to try and make any payments from their online banking until the problem has been resolved.  Members of the HSBC call-centre have ‘promised’ cutomers that the payments will go out today, although without any timescale being offered customers are quite correctly concerned at whether the bank will be experiencing the type of outage that NatWest and Ulster Bank experienced earlier in 2012.

What is is for certain is that this is another embarrassing online banking failure for a UK Bank and further shakes the now fragile confidence that the British public has in it’s financial institutions.