Buffeted by Europe's debt crisis, ING has today reported a 23% fall in second quarter earnings.

The Dutch-based company said its banking operations were hurt by higher bad loan provisions and its insurance arm took write-downs on the value of some operations.

Net profit for ING, one of Europe's largest financial institutions, was €1.17 billion, down from €1.51 billion the same time a year ago.

Its banking profits fell 13% to €860m from €994m on the back of lower margins and higher bad loan provisions. 

They were boosted, however, by a one-time gain of €169m as a result of changes in Dutch pension accounting rules.

Insurance earnings were cut in half from €548m to €288m as ING wrote down the value of its for-sale South Korean operations by €180m.

Even after stripping out one-off items, ING's earnings were down 17% at €1.05 billion.

Nevertheless, chief executive Jan Hommen called the results, which were better than in the first quarter of 2012, "solid."

"In these uncertain times the financial strength of the company is our highest priority: capital, liquidity and funding have all improved," he said in a statement.

He repeated that ING will not pay a dividend until it has repaid the Dutch state a remaining €3 billion it owes after being bailed out during the 2008 financial crisis.

The company was also ordered by the European Commission to split its banking and insurance activities, but that has yet to occur. Hommen said preparations continue on the matter.