Dutch insurance and banking group ING has announced that it is outsourcing 800 Netherlands and Belgium-based jobs to UK firm Astron.

ING signed a memorandum of understanding with document outsourcing company Astron covering the processing of banking and insurance documents in the Netherlands and Belgium.

ING said 700 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions will be affected in the Netherlands and 100 in Belgium, but the company anticipates that all employees will be employed by Astron.

The final contract with Astron is expected to be signed in the third quarter of 2006. The expected value of the contract is E400 million based on a seven-year period.

The intended agreement represents part of ING’s efficiency program for the operations and IT organization in the Benelux announced in November 2005, whereby ING plans to transfer 2,200 FTEs to outsourcing partners.

ING expects total annual cost savings of approximately E230 million and non-recurring costs of around E180 million as a result of the entire efficiency program (outsourcing, streamlining and downsizing of external staff).