ING is closing its retail bank in France: what will happen to its customers?

If the activities are maintained until the sale is effective, then what will be the options for the customers of the Dutch bank?

After more than 10 years of presence in France, the Dutch ING has announced this Tuesday its intention to close its retail bank in the country.

The end of this activity could lead to the sale of the portfolio of customers in France. “ING is currently studying with third parties the possibility of concluding an agreement concerning its client portfolio. Discussions are ongoing, no further information can be given on this subject for the moment,” the bank said in a statement. Nothing to reassure ING’s “around one million French customers”. What will happen to them? Are their funds protected? Will the buyer have to keep the entire customer portfolio? What choices for these customers once the sale is closed?

Don’t panic, this is not bankruptcy

If ING closes its retail bank in France, this is not a bankruptcy or liquidation. And even if this was the case, French clients are protected by the deposit guarantee and resolution fund up to 100. 000 euros since ING is a bank in good standing, with an authorization.

Its owner is now seeking to sell this activity to a third party. This means that during this time, the activities are maintained. What ING also ensures: “Customers continue to benefit from the usual online banking services. Customers and partners will be informed individually before any change concerning products and services”

“There is no danger in default, there is no solvency problem. This is not the first once a retail bank is sold. For current customers who are wondering, nothing changes until the deal is made. Then, what sauce they will be eaten in, it differs every time, it is part conditions of recovery. For the moment, we do not really know what to say to these customers “”, explains to BFM Business, Michel Guillaud, president of the association France Conso Bank . What we confirm laconically the ACPR, the Prudential Control and Resolution Authority, the sector regulator: “During the transition period, customers must wait to know the concrete terms of repossession “.

Decisions to be taken when the sale has taken place

In fact , current ING France customers will have to make choices when the takeover is effective. They will be able to remain customers of the new operator or decide to leave it.

“The uncertainty concerns the offers, their maintenance, and practical questions. The law provides for several scenarios. Certain products financial instruments are non-transferable. Others are transferable with costs, still others are transferable without cost “, explains Michel Guillaud.

So-called “regulated” investments, such as the Livret A, the LDD (Livret de Développement Durable) or the Livret d’Épargne populaire are not transferable. ‘one establishment to another. You must first close them and then request their opening in your new bank in order to transfer your assets. The specific bank accounts are specific to each brand. They therefore cannot follow the customer to his new bank. On the other hand, holding several booklets is not prohibited (which is not the case with regulated booklets) The PEA (Plan Epargne en Actions) and the PEA-PME are transferable financial products but banks apply fees and the operating conditions may differ from one institution to the next. other. The question of bringing competition into play can therefore arise. PEL and CEL are also transferable, again the majority of banks charge transfer fees and both financial institutions have to agree (which can take time). The regulations require you to hold all of your home savings products (PEL and CEL) in the same establishment. The PERP (Popular Retirement Savings Plan) is transferable but the law provides for transfer fees of 5% at most 10 first years, then no costs beyond 03 years. However, life insurance cannot be transferred to another bank. The acquirer must therefore be transparent and explain the options available to ING France clients. And respect the regulations. The association nevertheless demands a clarification from the ING group, observing an increasing number of calls from worried customers.

Olivier Chicheportiche BFM Business Journalist

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