ING steps up research on consumer finances

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9 December 2015

ING published today the first in a series of research reports as part of ING’s Think Forward Initiative to gain a better understanding of consumer decision-making and the consequences on economic activity.

The report, Economics in 3D, argues that a fuller understanding of personal decision-making goes beyond just economics. It requires a multi-dimensional approach, taking into account many other forces shaping consumer behavior.

ING’s Think Forward Initiative is a multi-year project bringing together a range of experts and research to get a better understanding how and why financial choices are made. The insights gained will help shape initiatives to assist consumers better manage their finances. It formally begins with a conference on 25 February 2016 in Brussels.

In the Economics in 3D report ING chief economist Mark Cliffe says that economists have been slow to recognise that changing consumer behavior may have significant impacts on economies.

“Just as the state of the economic environment affects individuals, the changing behaviour of individuals can affect the economy as a whole. Macro affects micro and micro affects macro. This calls for a more holistic approach,” he argues.

Economists at ING have for several years been developing analysis and content designed to help retail customers of all kinds. This supports ING’s customer-focused purpose of empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and business. The international consumer economics team, via its website eZonomics.com and ING’s International Surveys (IIS), supports local financial education initiatives and produces customer-centric content, such as articles, tips and tools. Locally, ING supports initiatives such as Financieel Fit (Financially Fit) in the Netherlands. ING’s daily internet poll on consumer opinions on the retail banking website has long been the biggest poll in the country.

“There can be little doubt that the need for such support is growing. People face fresh challenges and opportunities in making decisions. The financial crisis has accelerated the shift towards individuals taking more responsibility for their financial affairs,” said Cliffe.

He said the Economics in 3D and subsequent reports were part of the contribution from ING’s economists to the dialogue and debate about consumer financial behaviour.

The Economics in 3D report and subsequent reports are available on the Think Forward Initiative website.

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