A 12 per cent increase in owner-occupier home loans in 2016 has helped make ING DIRECT Australia’s “fifth largest retail bank in both household balances and mortgages”.
According to ING DIRECT’s 2016 annual report, it finished the calendar year with $53 billion in assets, 1.7 million customers and $295 million of statutory net profit after tax.
Total loans for the year were up 10 per cent to $47.8 billion, with owner-occupier loans increasing by more than 12 per cent. These loans now make up 77 per cent of ING’s retail mortgage portfolio.
By the end of 2016, ING DIRECT held $41.4 billion in residential loans (up from $38.6 billion the year before), $3.4 billion in business loans (up from $2.9 billion) and $2.9 billion in wholesale loans (up from $2.0 billion).
The bank highlighted that its new online home loan portal has resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in processing time per loan, thanks in part to customers being able to upload documents digitally.
“Buying a home is such an important decision for people and very relevant to ING developing the main financial relationship with customers,” ING DIRECT’s CEO Uday Sareen said.
Overall, the bank attracted “a record” 163,000 new customers and saw its Everyday payment account grow by 39 per cent to break through the 500,000 mark.
Mr Sareen said the annual growth means ING DIRECT is now “Australia’s fifth largest retail bank in both household balances and mortgages”, behind NAB, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and Westpac.
He pointed to the bank’s digital offerings as part of the reason for its growing popularity.
“Bank customer inertia is declining as people are more willing to move for a better digital experience… People are increasingly looking for a seamless digital experience from their service providers and the onus is on banks to provide that experience.
“For us, by far the majority of our customer interactions are via the mobile app.”
Mr Sareen said ING DIRECT will continue to develop more products and services as part of its focused primary bank strategy, adding that the bank is growing wholesale assets (which grew by approximately 50 per cent over the year to $3 billion).
“We are in a strong position to leverage our global expertise and international network for wholesale banking,” he said.
“In 2017, we remain focused on scaling our digital capability across products and services to deliver a seamless experience for our customers. We believe that innovating in line with our customers’ preferences for digitalisation will contribute to the longer-term sustainability of the bank,” Mr Sareen said.
“We are committed to continually adding value for our customers by empowering and enabling them to achieve their goals. Our ambition is to become our customers’ main financial institution by making it easy for them to manage their money, and in doing so help them achieve financial wellbeing now and for the future.”
[Related: On the Record: Uday Sareen, ING DIRECT]