ING to separate banking and insurance operations; to pay back taxpayers' money

ING Group today announced that it will separate its banking and insurance operations as part of its ongoing review of the Group's strategy and as a logical next step in its Back to Basics programme.

This will be achieved over the next four years by a divestment of all Insurance operations.

ING said it will explore all options, including initial public offerings, sales or combinations thereof.

"Today we are announcing a comprehensive set of actions that, taken together, provide a clear plan for resolving the uncertainty created by the financial crisis and will launch a new era for ING,'' said Jan Hommen, chief executive officer of ING.

A little over one year ago, ING began to experience the direct impact of the financial crisis, resulting in two instances of government support to strengthen our capital position and to mitigate risk," Hommen added.

''Over the last six months, we have worked tirelessly - both inside ING and with the Dutch Government and the European Commission - to devise a plan that will enable us to pay back the Dutch State, address the EC's requirements for viability and fair competition, and return our focus to the business and what matters most to our customers,'' Hopmmen said.