Bigger Story This article is part of ING's Annual Review 2014. read the 2014 Annual review

Our customer promise

Clear and Easy

Banking doesn’t have to be difficult and time consuming. Clear products, plain language, fair prices and simple processes save time and money.

Anytime, anywhere

We work to make our services available where our customers are. Banking should be possible anytime and anywhere.

Empower

The best financial decisions are informed decisions. Customers want relevant, up-to-date information at their fingertips. They need to understand their choices, and the implications, both today and for the future.

Keep getting better

Life and business are about moving forward. We will keep looking for new ways to make things better. With new ideas, new solutions, new ways to make things easier for our customers. In that way, we all stay a step ahead.

Strategic priorities

We have identified four strategic priorities that serve to create a differentiating customer experience.

1.Earn the primary relationship

Before we can empower our customers, we have to know what they want. We will only get to know them well if we are their main banking partner. In Retail Banking our primary relationships are with customers who use ING as their main payment account and have at least one other product with us. In Commercial Banking, lending and transaction services are the anchor products that indicate primary client relationships. The number of primary clients is increasing in all countries. In 2014, we welcomed more than one million new customers and established half a million primary banking relationships.

2.Develop analytics skills to understand our customers better

The more we understand our customers, the more relevant are our services. Data-driven analytical tools empower our customers. We aim to help them make smarter decisions for themselves, based on better quality financial information. We use analytics to protect our customers from fraud and improve operational excellence. We are focusing on realising these benefits without compromising security or privacy. A head of Advanced Analytics is charged with enhancing ING’s capabilities. We are currently setting up a data science centre of excellence.

3.Increase the pace of innovation to serve changing customer needs

Rapid technological change, especially in mobile and payments systems, is shifting the competitive landscape. We are accelerating the innovation cycle to identify more good ideas and introduce useful improvements and technologies sooner. Successful innovation depends on progress on multiple fronts. We need a constant stream of ideas and reliable mechanisms to execute the best ideas well and we need to ensure fluid transition from best practice-sharing to common development. Deep customer understanding should propel innovation. We focus on ideas that make customers’ lives better. In July 2014, we appointed a chief innovation officer (CInO) to develop and promote innovative solutions, apply new technologies and optimise speed-to-market.

4.Think beyond traditional banking to develop new services and business models

Our customers want banking services, but it is less obvious that they need banks to deliver them. We have to be prepared to disrupt ourselves before we are disrupted. We are investing to stay relevant both now and in the future. We look beyond traditional banking to develop new services and business models.

Our enablers

Our enablers help us to maintain key skills and organisational resources in support of our strategic priorities.

Simplify and streamline

We need to operate as an agile, responsive business. We have been streamlining our policies and controls, while making sure that we retain a solid process. We are reviewing existing mandates to give employees more scope to make key decisions. Changes to our governance encourage more effective cooperation between functions and geographies and prioritise innovation.

Operational excellence

We set benchmarks for operational excellence and measure performance throughout the company. We need to know we are serving customers better and more efficiently in a digital world. The appointment in April 2014 of a new chief operations officer, who is a member of the Management Board Banking, and responsible for Operations & IT, change management and procurement has intensified our focus.

Performance culture

Culture is our third enabler. We need to excel at attracting and keeping the talent to get us where we need to go. We want to foster a culture where employees are empowered to deliver for our customers. We are articulating what we mean by performance culture. We have developed new global behaviours and improved performance management. We asked 13,000 of our employees what they thought about our culture. They were positive about our customer focus, professional standards and talent development. But they said progress on process efficiencies was slow. And they wanted senior leaders to pay more attention to their opinions.

Lending capabilities

ING Bank has strong savings gathering and lending capabilities. We fund most assets from deposits. But savings and lending are still not evenly distributed across our business units. We are aiming for continued growth in net lending. Net lending in 2014 increased by three percent. In our Ambition 2017 programme, we aim for an approximate four percent annual increase. Broadening our lending capabilities to match deposit franchises will help us build stronger local businesses. To achieve this, we need to diversify our asset base. There are specific opportunities in Retail Banking, such as consumer finance and SME lending. On the Commercial Banking side, we are focusing on growing Industry Lending, Working Capital Solutions and Trade Finance.