S&P Cuts ING Groep Following Downgrade of The Netherlands

ING Groep NV, the Netherlands’ biggest financial-services company, and its banking unit had their credit ratings cut by Standard & Poor’s following the rating company’s decision to strip the Netherlands of its top grade.

The rating for ING Groep NV was cut to A- from A, and ING Bank, the biggest bank by assets in the Netherlands, had its long-term issuer default rating cut to A from A+, with stable outlook, S&P said in a statement today. Ratings for Rabobank Nederland, ABN Amro Bank NV and SNS Bank NV were left unchanged.

The Netherlands was cut by one level to AA+ from AAA on Nov. 29 by S&P, which cited a weaker outlook for growth in the fifth-biggest economy in the euro area. The nation has gone through three recessions since the global financial crisis started in 2008 and may shrink by 1 percent this year according to European Commission forecasts, more than twice the projected contraction in the 17-nation euro area. The nation still has top ratings at Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings.

“The lowering of the long-term rating on ING Bank is based on the reduction in the uplift for government support that we factor into,” S&P said today. Insurer Nationale-Nederlanden Verzekerings Maatschappij NV, an ING Groep unit, was also cut to A from A+.

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