ING Group plans to shed 7,000 jobs and invest heavily in its digital platforms to achieve annual savings of €900m by 2021, the Netherlands' largest financial services company said today. 

The move represents slightly less than 12% of ING's 52,000 workforce because nearly 1,000 of the job cuts are expected to come at suppliers rather than the company itself. 

Other large banks have announced mass layoffs at branch offices in a quest for increased profitability.

But ING said the job cuts are partly to combine technology platforms and risk control centres as well to help it to contend with regulatory burdens and low interest rates. 

ING said it will invest €800m in its technology platform, which will be rolled out over the next five years to its "challenger" markets of Spain, Italy, France, Austria and the Czech Republic. 

ING has had success, especially in Germany, with a business model focused on maintaining little physical presence and conducting its retail business entirely online, winning customers from Deutsche Bank. 

In the Netherlands and Benelux, where most of the job cuts will fall - 3,500 in Belgium and 2,300 in the Netherlands - the company is integrating its Belgian Record Bank subsidiary, Belgium's second largest retail bank, with ING. 

The company plans to take €1.1 billion in charges, of which €1 billion will be in the next quarter, for redundancies.