Home Business Big Business Is ING the biggest winner from the royal commission?

Is ING the biggest winner from the royal commission?

The online bank signed up almost half a million new customers.

Jack Derwin

Digital Journalist, Your Money

Of all the entities targeted in the financial services royal commission, it was Australia’s largest banks that received the biggest shellacking, so perhaps it’s no surprise that direct competitor ING may have stood the most to gain.

Hundreds of thousands of Australians raced to join the branch-less bank in 2018 (it has one ‘lounge’ in the Sydney CBD), which saw after-tax profits jump 15 per cent jump on the previous year.

Speaking to Your Money chief business reporter Leo Shanahan on TICKY, ING CEO Uday Sareen said more and more Australians were moving to the bank in the wake of a commission that focused on how customers were being treated.

“We’ve crossed two million customers now in Australia, and we acquired 400,000 new customers last year,” Sareen said.

That was 57 per cent more customers than the bank acquired in 2017, with no doubt that many of those came from the big four.

One of the consistent themes from the royal commission was the revelation that banks had been chasing as much growth as possible at the absolute detriment of their customers. 

As its number of customers swells, ING says it is taking the fight to the banks but is taking its time in expanding.

“We don’t want to go out and rush into these products. We want to offer them based on the needs customers have,” Sareen said.

“Until about three years ago, 90 per cent of our loan book were mortgages. We’ve launched personal loans last year [and] we launched a credit card the year before last,” he explained.

Another interesting shift in the market is the growth of digital banks like ING and the tranche of neobanks now entering Australia, at the same time as the major banks begin slashing the number of their branches.

Of 700,000 interactions ING has with its customers each day, Sareen said 99 per cent of those are digital and 70 per cent of that is through the mobile app.

“Offering convenience and offering mobile and increasingly offering products and services through these channels is key and that is differentiating and that is a competitive advantage for us,” he explained.

Watch the full interview above. 

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