ING announces new buyback programme, Q3 net profit beats estimates

.Logo of ING Bank.

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ING Groep, the largest Dutch bank, on Thursday announced its second share buyback programme of the year, of up to 2.5 billion euros ($2.65 billion), following third-quarter net profits that more than doubled from the previous year.

The bank, which serves more than 38 million customers, stressed that it remains vigilant as global economic growth is slowing.

Banks have been one of the main beneficiaries of rising interest rates over the past two years to curb inflation, but central banks seem now to be at the end of this cycle of monetary tightening.

“We are conscious of the public discussions on saving rates and, depending on developments in the competitive landscape, our liability margins may reduce somewhat from current levels,” CEO Steven van Rijswijk said in a statement.

The net interest income (NII), a key measure of earnings on loans minus deposit costs, reached 4.03 billion euros in the quarter, below 4.12 billion euros expected in a company-compiled consensus.

“NII was negatively impacted by … group Treasury and … Financial Markets, (but) both elements were more than offset in Other Income,” Jefferies said in a note.

Net additions to loan loss provisions amounted to 183 million euros, lower than 322 million euros expected in the company-compiled consensus, partially due to what Chief Risk Officer Ljiljana Cortan described as “successful de-risking from Russia”.

“The exposure to Russia is offshore, approximately 1.5 billion. That’s actually two-thirds decrease compared to the year ahead,” she said in a call with journalists.

ING had launched this year a buyback programme of up to 1.5 billion euros and other European banks such as HSBC, UniCredit, BBVA or Deutsche Bank have recently announced share buybacks programmes or the intention to launch them soon.

The bank’s net profit rose 103% to 1.98 billion euros between July and September, beating the 1.83 billion euros in the company-compiled consensus.

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