March 09, 2011

ING Direct USA, the online-only bank operated by Netherlands-based ING Group, is going up for sale.

The New York Post reported late Tuesday the Dutch financial group began the process of selling its U.S. division over the past several weeks, and that it could be worth some $10 billion. The Post named CIT Group as a potential buyer.

Reuters reports the proceeds from the sale will largely go toward paying back the Dutch government:

ING was forced to split its insurance and bank operations and agreed to divest ING Direct USA by 2013 as part of European Commission approval for 10 billion euros ($14 billion) of Dutch state aid received in 2008 during the financial crisis.

"We are preparing for divestment (of ING Direct USA) to comply with the EU agreement," spokesman Raymond Vermeulen said.

ING Direct offers banking, investment and retirement products online, and offers a mobile banking app for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android customers.