NU Online News Service, Dec. 6, 9:22 a.m. – The ING Groep N.V., Amsterdam, Americas, says it will eliminate 15% of its U.S. workforce by further consolidating Aetna Financial Services and ReliaStar Financial Corp. with its other U.S. operations.

The new workforce reduction involves approximately 1,600 positions, but ING says it has not yet decided where the layoffs will occur.

The company expects to pay out about $75 million to $100 million in severance.

The reduction in workforce will reduce expenses in the U.S. operations by $250 million to $300 million a year, ING says.

ING acquired Aetna Financial, Hartford, and ReliaStar, Minneapolis, a year ago.

ING put all North American and South American operations in a unit, “ING Americas,” which now has about 10,700 employees in the United States.

The U.S. operations sell retail and worksite financial services, mutual funds and reinsurance.

Along with layoffs, other cost saving measures will include improvements in purchasing, cuts in technology and travel spending, and a reduction in the use of consultants, ING says.

ING put out a statement predicting the expense reduction program would help it earn at least $150 million per year before income taxes.

“The weak U.S. economy and difficult market conditions have challenged our efforts to reach our financial objectives,” Fred Hubbell, chairman of the ING Americans executive committee, said in the statement. “This program will ensure long-term growth and performance at ING U.S.”