AMSTERDAM - Dutch banking group ING will axe 7,000 jobs, in addition to pulling out from the launch of its retail direct banking initiative in Japan, after posting a EUR3.3 billion loss for its fourth quarter and an overall EUR1 billion loss for 2008. Chief executive officer Michel Tilman is now seeking new employment. His role will be taken by Jan Hommen, currently chairman of the group's supervisory board. The bank has agreed to use a EUR22 billion loan from Dutch authorities. All the firm's bosses have sacrificed their bonuses for 2008 as part of the state loan agreement. ING says its job cuts will save it a further EUR1 billion during the course of 2009. The job losses were just some of the 76,000 jobs lost on both sides of the Atlantic on January 26, "Blue Monday", according to UK newspaper the Financial Times. The losses included 20,000 at US construction firm Caterpillar.
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