ING flexes fintech muscles

ING flexes fintech muscles

With Money20/20 about to open in Amsterdam, local bank ING is showing its innovation chops with a slew of announcements around SME financing, fintech investments and smart money management.

In the SME financing space, ING has partnered with British firm Funding Options to launch a marketplace in the Netherlands that will enable small businesses to pick and choose from a menu of the the bank’s own and competing financing options.

“Thanks to Funding Options, business owners will now have access to a wide choice of financing options that they can easily compare and conclude on one platform - even if they aren’t an ING customer,” says Vincent van den Boogert, CEO of ING in the Netherlands. “This platform will enable them to compare what’s on offer and allow us to make alternative sources of financing available to them quicker than before. For instance, there are market parties that have developed specialist financing options, such as working capital, leasing or debtor financing. These are an excellent addition to the wide number of options that ING already provides. By lining up all these options next to each other, we’re offering the SME business community the most extensive selection on a single platform."

In a related move in neighbouring Germany, ING's venture capital unit ING Ventures has participated as a lead investor in a $10 million Series A financing round for SME financing startup FinCompare, which offers a marketplace model equivalent to that being set up by the bank in its home market.

Since launch in February 2017, FinCompare has attracted 2500 customers and processed requests of more than Eur1 billion. Business customers can find, compare and close a variety of financing options such as credit, leasing, factoring and finetrading from more than 200 banks, alternative financial service providers and development banks.

The Berlin-based fintech company currently employs around 40 people.

Benoit Legrand, CEO of ING Ventures, says: "The investment in FinCompare enables us to expand our presence in the SME-segment in Germany. Thanks to its size and dynamics, the German SME-industry is among the most attractive ones in Europe. This investment helps ING in the implementation of the bank’s strategy to become the market-leading platform for financing needs.”

Separately, the bank has shared news on the expansion of its money management platform Yolt to France and Italy.

Launched in the UK in 2017 Yolt helps users to actively manage their personal finances with a one-stop overview of their accounts with the majority of UK banks and other feature. The business has so far attracted 300,000 registered users, encouraging the bank to take its Europe-wide.

Says Legrand: "This is an important milestone for both ING and Yolt, as this platform is now being taken to multiple countries. Inventing and launching an innovation is one thing, but taking it to the next level is another. It shows we are successful in growing fintechs our own, next to innovating by partnering with more than 150 fintechs."

In a big day for fintech news, the Dutch bank has also announced plans to build an urban innovation hub for start-ups, scale-ups and entrepreneurs at the site of its future HQ in the south-east of Amsterdam.

The campus will tap into three knowledge areas: data science, behavioural science and engineering and technology, which includes artificial intelligence, blockchain and user experience design.

ING plans to move the first employees and partners to the campus in the second half of 2019. It will continue to be developed until 2024.

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