ING Group will lay off 750 employees in the U.S., including 96 in the Hartford area, as the Dutch financial services company trims expenses in a recession that has taken a heavy toll on the stock market and property values.
ING employs 1,969 in the Hartford area and plans to reduce that amount by 5 percent, eliminating 85 positions at its Connecticut headquarters in Windsor and 11 in downtown Hartford.
The layoffs are expected to be completed by the end of March.
Windsor, with 1,800 employees, has the largest number of workers of any ING location in the country and is the headquarters of its former wealth management business, now split into retirement services and annuities in a recent reorganization. The layoffs announced Tuesday aren't related to that reorganization.ING has 169 workers in downtown Hartford in its investment management operations. The company also employs several hundred contract workers in the Hartford area.
Dana Ripley, an ING spokesman in Atlanta, said the company is confident of prospects for growth in the U.S. and the Hartford area in the long run. "But we need to take appropriate steps to navigate through these challenges in the short term," Ripley said.
Nationally, the cuts represent about 7 percent of a workforce of 11,000 and will come across all business units, job categories and locations.
In addition to the layoffs, ING said it will not fill 170 vacant positions nationally. Ripley said ING is evaluating expenses outside the U.S. as well but hasn't made any decisions about possible job cuts.
ING joins other financial services companies in the United States in making cuts as the economy deteriorates. Deep declines in the stock market shrink the value of investment portfolios and push customers into lower-risk investments.
Amsterdam-based ING Group announced its first net loss in the quarter ended Sept. 30 and accepted an infusion of about $12 billion from the Dutch government. In the United States, considered a major market for growth, ING recorded a net loss of $568 million in the third quarter compared with net income of $216 million a year earlier.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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