* Cuts about 10 pct of staff at Dutch retail banking unit
* Takes 467 mln euros pretax Greek bond hit
* Q3 net 1.69 bln euros vs 1.62 bln in poll
* Shares up 6 pct, outperform insurance index
(Adds CEO comment, link to CFO interview, updates shares)
By Gilbert Kreijger
AMSTERDAM, Nov 3 Dutch financial services group
ING is to cut 2,700 jobs, it said on Thursday, slashing
the headcount at its Dutch retail banking operations by 10
percent in the face of deteriorating markets.
The cuts follow similar measures at ING's Dutch rivals ABN
AMRO and Rabobank and reflect the downturn
in the global financial markets and a push to improve efficiency
in the domestic market.
The Dutch central bank said on Wednesday that Dutch banks
were inefficient compared with their foreign rivals and it saw
room for them to cut costs.
ABN AMRO, which was nationalised in the 2008 financial
crisis, is shedding 2,350 jobs or some 9 percent of its
workforce, while Rabobank has announced plans to cut more than
1,200 jobs at its Dutch headquarters or 6 pct of staff jobs.
"Income is coming under pressure in the current environment.
We need to make sure we remain competitive," ING Chief Executive
Jan Hommen said on a conference call with analysts.
Other banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse
are shedding jobs worldwide as stricter regulations
and a tough trading environment take their toll on investment
banking units in particular.
ING said it would cut 2,000 full-time staff, or 10.5 percent
of its Dutch retail banking operations. It will also cut 700
ING took a 467 million-euro pre-tax writedown on Greek
government bonds in its third-quarter results and said it had
now written down all of its bonds to market value and reduced
exposure to "peripheral" euro zone bonds by more than 5 billion
European leaders were preparing on Thursday for the
possibility of Greece leaving the euro zone, although Hommen
said it would be better to keep Greece in the 12-year-old
"It's better for the country itself, it's better for Europe,
and it's better for the financial system. But there is a price
to everything," Hommen said.
ING shares, which have fallen around 10 percent this week on
Europe's debt problems, were up 6.1 percent at 5.99 euros by
1141 GMT, outperforming the STOXX Europe 600 insurance index
, which rose 2.2 percent.
"The bank and the insurer results were good and we do not
have to change our future earnings estimates. Their exposure to
Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain has been well reduced
to very manageable proportions," Rabobank analyst Cor Kluis said
in a note.
ING plans to list its U.S. insurance operations and its
combined European and Asian insurance operations in the next two
years , as part of European Commission approval for
state aid received in 2008 during the credit
Hommen said ING has continued with preparations for the IPOs
but that financial markets in the United States and Europe were
not open to a financial stock listing because of the debt crisis
and market turmoil.
ING has already paid back part of the state aid it received,
and had previously said it would repay the remaining 3 billion
euros plus a 50 percent premium by May 2012, but Hommen said the
final settlement could be postponed because of market
uncertainty and new capital requirements.
"Until we know all the details we cannot firmly say we will
but we have every intention to do it as quickly as we can,"
ING received an additional 5 billion euros in inflows from
clients in the third quarter, especially corporate and
institutional clients, showing it did not suffer from worries
about banks' health due to Europe's debt crisis, Hommen said.
The group's third-quarter net profit of 1.69 billion euros
was slightly ahead of the average forecast of 1.6 billion euros
in a Reuters poll of nine analysts.
Net profit was revised to 239 million euros in the same
period last year, when results were impacted by writedowns
related to U.S. insurance operations. ING said the year-ago
figures were restated to reflect a change in accounting policy.
(Editing by Mike Nesbit and Helen Massy-Beresford)