ING's Belgian operation is to acquire savings and investment bank Eural from Dexia. Eural will be merged with ING Belgium's existing Record Bank arm over the course of 2006.

Under the terms of the agreement, Eural’s 103 employees will transfer to Record Bank, along with its network of 233 independent bank agents who are mainly active in Flanders.

The acquisition of Eural further expands Record Bank and ING’s second distribution network in Belgium following the purchase of Westkrediet in 2002, AGF Belgium Bank in 2003 and Mercator Bank in 2004.

The acquisition will expand Record Bank’s distribution network in Belgium to more than 900 bank agents and add 115,000 customers to its existing customer base of 400,000. Total deposits in the combined entity will amount to more than E8 billion.

Record Bank offers a wide array of savings, investment and lending products to private customers, professionals, self-employed people and family companies. It will also introduce insurance products in 2006.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.