ING Groep, the largest Dutch financial group, reported a fourth-quarter pre-tax underlying profit of € 1.69 billion in the fourth quarter as a result of higher interest income, commissions, and fees.
The results are compelling as ING wants to impose a heavy fine of 775 million euros in the third quarter due to deprived supervising of money laundering by its customers. Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting a pretax profit of 1.57 billion euros in the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from 1.56 billion euros a year ago.
ING said that regardless of the scandal, it acquired new customers and that net credit growth was 3.2 billion euros. Of the main banking indicators, net interest margin was 1.56%, slightly down from 1.58% a year ago, but the cost-to-revenue ratio improved to 59.9%, to 57.1%.
“We see a need for enhanced cost regulation as we wait for a decline in lending in the extensive banking division (in 2019),” Ralph Hamers, CEO said in a statement. The company said the macroeconomic viewpoint has worsened globally, but remained robust both in the United States and Europe.”
Provisions for doubtful accounts spurred from €190 Million to €242 Million, but the bank considers these two figures below the average of the business cycle.
“If the economy of eurozone does not grow fast, it could interrupt our growth,” he said. “However, we have an all-digital banking approach; we gain market share every year, so we quickly grow in the market and that is owing to we have a different approach from any other bank.”
ING has partnered with Funding Options, an online business finance marketplace, which intends to introduce its operation in the Netherlands.