ING leaves French retail banking, collective action expected

Friday 19 August 2022 13:49 CET | News

France Conso Banque has intended collective action against Dutch banking group ING after the bank abruptly closed the accounts of many French clients. 


Online bank ING is facing the threat of collective action in France, as many of its French clients find their accounts being closed without warning over the summer period.

What led to the current situation

ING, which announced its departure from France’s retail banking market in December 2021, had announced in April 2022 a partnership with French online bank Boursorama, effectively intending to transfer its client portfolio to the latter. Boursorama would directly receive all ING life-insurance accounts (worth around EUR 5 billion in total), and those current-account holders who chose to transfer from ING to Boursorama would benefit from a bonus of up to EUR 320. Those who chose to transfer to Boursorama (around 200,000 at the beginning of July, according to Boursorama figures as reported by Le Figaro) would be contacted in waves until the summer period, and those who did not, would have to wait longer for the winding-up process to conclude.

However, ING abruptly began closing the accounts of the latter group over the summer, often giving them only a few days’ notice, leaving many customers with no time to find another bank. The form of communication of the warning varied, with some customers receiving registered letters and others an email and simple letter.

This is not the only problem faced by ING customers. The bank is struggling to cope with the sheer number of savings products which it is in the process of closing; equally, other banks are overwhelmed by flocks of ex-ING customers. The director of BNP Paribas Foch Maillot in Paris, Clément Vernhes, said, as reported by Le Figaro, that they were ‘struggling to meet the deadlines imposed by ING.’

ING leaves French retail banking, collective action expected


Regulatory challenges faced by ING and consequences of the bank’s sudden departure

According to French law, those who hold regulated savings products can only switch to another bank when their old account has closed. Overall, this leaves many savers facing long periods during the transition in which they receive no interest.

Holders of security accounts or Share Saving Plans (PEA) at ING have received a warning, as reported by Le Figaro, stating that ‘in the absence of a request for transfer or closure of the securities account or PEA, ING reserves the right to initiate the closure of your account(s) as of August 2022 and to sell your securities in accordance with our terms and conditions.’ This leaves many scrambling to transfer, during which period they cannot, to their financial detriment, sell or buy.

The multiple consequences of ING’s departure has led to the organisation of collective action by France Conso Banque, whose president, Michel Guillaud, has himself been affected.

ING has operated in the French retail banking market since 2000. It has around 1 million customers in the country and 700 employees, 2 in 3 of the latter working in retail.

Earlier this month, ING reported pre-tax profits of EUR 1.74 billion in the second quarter- higher-than-expected figures.

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Keywords: mobile banking, banks, regulation
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Companies: France Conso Banque, ING
Countries: France
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Banking & Fintech

France Conso Banque



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