Bigger Story This article is part of ING's Annual Review 2015. read the 2015 Annual review

Earning the primary relationship

ING aims to build ‘primary relationships’ with customers, earning their loyalty to the extent that they consider us as the first bank for their financial business. We define a primary relationship as one where customers hold a current account and at least one other product with us.

Our goal is to earn 10 million primary retail relationships by the end of 2017. In 2015, we added more than half a million net new primary relationships, for a year-end total of 8.9 million. Cross-buy initiatives in Germany have improved the quality of the customer base, with more than 53 % of payment account customers depositing their salary in the account.

Australia introduced the Primary Bank Bonus for current account and mortgage customers, rewarding the loyalty of primary bank customers. In Romania, a redesign of the payments account to encourage customers to deposit their salaries with ING led to a 24 % volume increase compared to 2014.

Knowing our customers

To earn the primary relationship, ING needs to understand a customers’ preferences and meet their expectations.

Understanding customers and building a relationship with them in an increasingly digital world requires new skills in data collection and analysis. Once a primary relationship has been established ING can collect richer customer data which in turn allows us to provide more individually-tailored products and services. We understand the sensitivities around data collection and data privacy, and comply with legal and regulatory requirements for data privacy. We strive to be transparent about ING’s handling of customer data and when customer consent is required for data handling, to allow customers to withdraw such consent at any time.

A centre of excellence in Advanced Analytics has been set up in Frankfurt and Amsterdam to support business units in developing predictive models and advanced algorithms that contribute to a differentiating customer experience, increased lending capabilities, and improved practices in the areas of risk, fraud, marketing and operations. Local advanced analytics teams are now established in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Poland.

An advanced analytics project in Poland has been using data mining to offer retail and small business customers pre-approved loans.

Accelerating innovation

Continuous innovation is necessary to keep up with changing customer expectations. In 2015, ING introduced a number of innovative products and services.

Following the introduction of fingerprint authentication for the mobile app in Belgium in 2014, ING now offers fingerprint-based security features in the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Poland and Thailand. This gives customers a secure and easy-to-use alternative to conventional password-based access and authentication methods.

Germany’s ‘video identification’ service enables new customers to identify themselves to the bank without having to present themselves at a physical location.

Innovative payment initiatives, including Payconiq and Twyp (‘The way you pay‘) were piloted with the intention of launching new consumer-friendly ways to pay across Europe, available to customers of any bank. Twyp was introduced in Spain in December 2015, and in the Netherlands in January 2016.

Thinking beyond traditional banking

With new regulation opening up financial services to out of-sector competition and low economic growth putting pressure on traditional sources of income, it is important that ING develops new products and services beyond those traditionally offered by banks.

Banks traditionally play a role in the consumer’s shopping experience only at the moment of payment. ING wants to support them in the pre- and post-purchase phases of the shopping process as well.

Romania’s “Bazar” app was launched to customers following a successful pilot. Brands such as adidas, Lego and MOL offer special promotions to users paying with their ING card or Bazar’s digital wallet.

In Belgium, ING purchased loyalty platform Qustomer, which we plan to combine with innovative new ways to pay so that users can easily collect and redeem loyalty points from shops.