Before 1991 ING had been in existence and operating throughout the Netherlands behind many different very strong and well known banks and insurance companies. However it was only in the year 1991 that through the merger of National Netherlanden and NMB Post Bank that ING as it is known today came into existence. Therefore as ING the organisation has been in existence for less than two decades, however it has been one of the biggest success stories of the banking and financial industry. This success has not come at the expense of the strength of the bank or through the bank taking unwarranted risks but rather through the most appropriate and most prudent steps to become a well recognized brand worldwide. The name ING is synonymous with innovation and Internet banking. It was this that gave the organisation its unprecedented growth prospects throughout the years.
The ING group was the first ever, financial services provider to use the worldwide web for its banking activities. The organisation came up with the innovative strategy to create a bank that is accessible online and that has no bank branches or front line staff, just a call centre and one branch that would be used for those activities that make face to face contact absolutely necessary such as signing mortgage documents and lending documents etc. By cutting down on the brick and mortar operations the organisation was able to cut down on the overhead costs that all banks have to absorb and thus was able to pass on the benefit of these savings to the final consumer the bank's customers in the form of zero bank charges, lower lending rates and higher saving interest rates. Further with the ability to access ones finances online came the reduced time spent standing in lines, savings in terms of time spent getting to and fro from the bank thus making banking a very pleasant and time saving exercise. This uplifted the profile of the bank in the eyes of the consumer and contributed to its development and growth as one of the world's ten largest banks. Another factor that contributed to the success of the organisation has been its ability to customize its services to suit the different parts of the world that it is located in. For instance the organisation is well known for its micro lending facilities in India to uplift cottage industries and empower women in the villages and small communities. Likewise it is very well known for the ING foundation a charity that it operates in different parts of the world. Through the foundation the organisation has chosen different charities that it would support and also encourages its staff to participate in ING foundation activities and other voluntary services that has not only helped the organisation to climb the ranks as a desirable employer but also as a good corporate citizen.
The biggest threat that the organisation currently faces is the current economic crisis that has sent most of the large economies in Europe, the United States and the emerging economies into recession. While the organisation maybe on firm footing in a financial sense right now, this may change if there is a prolonged global recession. Further as the bank has not been in existence when such occurrences took place in the past, this would prove to be the acid test for the organisation.