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ING accelerates Dutch branch closures as customers go digital

FILE PHOTO: The logo of ING bank is pictured at the entrance of the group's main office in Brussels, Belgium September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch bank ING INGA.AS will close a quarter of its bank branches in the Netherlands as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the switch to digital banking, it said on Friday.

The largest bank in the Netherlands said it would shut 42 of its 170 branches in its home market. Almost all of the 150 employees affected will be offered other jobs within ING.

“We already had a plan, but the corona-crisis accelerated it”, ING Netherlands director Ruud van Dusschoten told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

ING temporarily closed many of its branches during the Netherlands’ partial lockdown from March to June, even though stores were allowed to remain open.

Since reopening, these branches have not attracted many customers, Van Dusschoten said.

“We have seen the use of our digital banking options increase even further. The need for offices keeps getting less.”

Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Mark Potter

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