ING: Biggest future threat is Amazon

Amsterdam_Zuidoost_ING-Bank_02_PM07
. ING building in Amsterdam Zuidoost (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Pieter Delicaat)

The biggest threat to the future of the baking world is not startups, but major technology platforms like Google, Apple and Amazon - Amazon in particular, ING CEO Ralph Hamers said to Financieele Dagblad.

"If those big platforms choose the banking world, they can do a lot. They can buy everything, they have such big reserves. It would not surprise me if that happens at some point", Hamers said to FD. According to him, Google and Apple are relatively reluctant. "Amazon shows the most daring and goes outside its own paths, with adjoining services. But we should definitely not look only to the west. In China, Alibaba and TentCent technology platforms already have a banking license and they also provide banking services."

Hamers believes that ING can do well in offering its banking services, like payment services, through platforms like Amazon and Google. But his main strategy for the Dutch bank is for ING to develop its own open online platform, on which other companies can offer their financial and other services. 

"People do not like doing their banking business, neither do I", Hamers said to FD. According to him, a varied open platform that offers a wide variety of services, gets much more traffic than a bare banking app. That extra traffic can instantly result in more work for the bank, but the bank - as owner - can also share in the revenue generated by other companies using the platform.

ING plans to launch such a platform for Spain, France, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic by 2020. And another for the Netherlands and Belgium a year later. The ultimate goal is to provide a global platform. 

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