ING considers sale of UK, Canadian online banks

Thu Aug 2, 2012 2:54am EDT
 
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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch bank and insurer ING ING.AS, which has been forced to sell assets in return for receiving state aid during the financial crisis, said it is considering the sale of its online banking businesses in the UK and Canada.

It did not give a value for either of the two online banking units but said they have 1.8 million customers in Canada and more than 1.5 million customers in the United Kingdom.

ING received 10 billion euros ($12.3 billion) in Dutch state aid during the 2008 financial crisis.

As a condition of its bailout, it agreed with the European Commission to reduce its balance sheet, split its bank and insurance operations, and sell assets such as its Dutch bank unit WestlandUtrecht and its U.S. online bank ING Direct.

But it is also selling other assets as it streamlines its businesses and raises funds to repay the state, and the Canadian and UK online banking businesses are part of that review, a spokeswoman for the bank said.

"ING continuously evaluates its portfolio of businesses, in line with its stated objective of sharpening its focus," ING said in a statement, adding that it was "reviewing strategic options" for the Canadian and UK units.

ING agreed to sell ING Direct, its U.S. online bank, to Capital One Financial Corp (COF.N: Quote) last year for about $9 billion in stock and cash: the deal was finally approved in February.

(Reporting by Sara Webb; Editing by Greg Mahlich)