ING Belgium made a net profit of EUR 949 million for 2014, up 14% on 2013, it was revealed in the presentation of its annual financial results on Friday. Among the highlights of the year are strong growth in its loan portfolio: in 2014 the bank lent an additional EUR 7.1 billion (+ 9.4%), while deposits increased by EUR 4.5 billion (+ 4.9%). “Saving is therefore not as sluggish as we thought,” said CEO Rik Vandenberghe. In the space of five years, the ING Belgium credit portfolio almost doubled to 82.5 billion euros. The growth seen last year stretches across all sectors, be it individuals, SMEs or large firms. “ING Belgium is one of the group’s centres of excellence, such as for complex industrial deals or working capital communications solutions,” said its CEO. As for mortgage credit, ING Belgium’s market share remains stable. Public sector lending, however, grew by 20%. For new and individual businesses – “the most difficult category” – agreed loans totalled over 2 billion euros. According Rik Vandenberghe, 81% of all applications were accepted.
CFO Tanate Phutrakul says the bank is able to lend so much money thanks to its positive loan/deposit ratio. Rik Vandenberghe also used the press conference to criticise the increase in bank taxes, which represent 9% of the total running costs of the bank, that is, 165 million euros, in comparison to 151 million in 2013. “The Belgian division is our most profitable, despite ING in the Netherlands being five times larger.”