The Hague: Dutch bank ING, the country's biggest lender, Monday announced 7,000 jobs could be lost mainly in Belgium and The Netherlands to save 900 million euros ($1.01 billion) by 2021.
The move is partly directed by the bank's bid to reshape its services for the digital banking market, in which it said it would be investing some 800 million euros.
"Over the coming five years, around 7,000 functions might be impacted by these effects," said chief executive Ralph Hamer.
Stressing the plans were not yet final, Hamer said the workforce could be reduced by some 3,500 in Belgium and another 2,300 in The Netherlands. The remaining posts were expected to be cut by external suppliers.
"Customers are increasingly digital and bank with us more and more through mobile devices," Hamer said in a statement.
They "expect us to adopt new technology as fast as companies in other sectors," Hamer said, adding ING needs "to offer a better customer experience, that's instant, personal, frictionless and relevant."
Amsterdam-based ING employs some 52,000 people in 40 countries around the world.
It was bailed out to the tune of 10 billion euros in 2008 after the global financial crisis struck, but it was forced by the European Commission to exit the insurance business.
It paid off the 10 billion euros plus interest that it owed the Dutch government in November 2014, well ahead of time.
Monday's announcement comes after ABN Amro, the country's third largest bank, said last month it was shedding 1,375 jobs over the next three years as it moves towards greater digitalisation.
Hamer acknowledged Monday that "banks are confronted with continuous regulatory burden and a prolonged period of ultra-low interest rates."
"These factors put pressure on the returns which are necessary to fund growth and investments, and cover our cost of capital," he added.
In August, ING said it had boosted its operating profits by 26.7 perc ent in the second quarter to 1.4 billion euros and increased its lending by 15 billion euros on the same period in 2015....