hamers ralph 400

ING Group, the Dutch multinational bank, has reported net core lending up €7.4 billion in Q2.

The company’s retail primary customers rose by 300,000 to 12.9 million in total over the same period.

The Q2 result has boosted ING’s total retail customer base to 38.6 million and underlying pre-tax profits to €2.05bn.

Ralph Hamers, ING Group chief executive and chairman, was happy with the results in Q2, with solid profitability and growth in lending and deposits.

He said the increase in primary customers demonstrates that the group’s approach to customer experience continues to be a differentiating factor for the business.

Hamers said: “Higher volumes and resilient lending margins supported earnings despite the ongoing low interest rate environment.

“Looking ahead, we expect that persistently low interest rates will put pressure on net interest income.”

Hamers said the company took further steps in Q2 to improve the way it manages non-financial risks.

This includes increasing the number of full time employees working on its know your customer (KYC) enhancement programme which has expanded to over 3,000 staff.

ING Group has put an increased focus on KYC and has ramped up efforts to streamline its operations which has led to an increased number of accounts being closed, including inactive accounts or account of which the customers were insufficiently responsive to information requests.

Hamers said: “We’re also working on promising tools that use machine learning and artificial intelligence to increase the effectiveness of our KYC operations.

“At the same time, we welcome steps by the Dutch and other authorities to achieve wider cooperation between banks, law enforcement and regulators on both a national and European level to strengthen the financial system’s resilience in the fight against financial economic crime.”

The latest developments for Q2 at ING Group include improving its digital customer experience to strengthen its mobile-first approach.

There is now functionality in German and Polish markets that notifies customers of upcoming payments. ING has also rolled out enhancements to its mobile app by adding Apple Pay compatibility in the Netherlands, Romania and Spain.