Dutch lender ING has announced plans to shut down 69 private bank branches as an increasing number of customers switch to online banking following the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Dutch news agency ANP, the bank will be left with 59 offices following the closures.

The decision will impact around 440 employees. It will include 240 office jobs and 200 from business units which provide advisory services.

The bank will also guide the employees, who will become redundant, with new jobs.

In the Netherlands, ING has around 15,000 employees. The bank also said that the branches to be closed served only a small number of customers.

The move comes nearly four months after ING announced plans to lay off around 1,000 people, mostly from the investment arm and operations for overseas customers.

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ING CEO Ruud van Dusschoten was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Due to the corona measures, ING has again digitized more processes in the past year.

“It was no longer necessary to come to a branch to open a private checking account. Now it is no longer necessary in order to change an address or a mobile number.”

Separately, the lender is also increasing the number of service points in stores to ensure that the customers receive in-person assistance.

According to its website, ING has a workforce of 57,000 people serving 39.3 million customers, corporate clients and financial institutions across 40 countries.