WILMINGTON, Del. - ING Direct, the U.S. Internet banking arm of ING Group of Amsterdam, opened for business Wednesday.

Taking a page from the Internet banks it has successfully deployed in other countries, ING is offering only four products through the bank: a savings account with 6.5% interest, high-interest certificates of deposit, personal lines of credit, and home mortgages.

The bank is part of the parent company's plan to introduce new direct banks in at least two countries a year. It already has direct banks in Canada, Australia, Spain, and France, and is planning to roll one out in Italy next year.

ING aims to become a worldwide retail brand providing banking, insurance, and asset management by telephone, direct mail, and the Internet.

The company's Canadian bank, launched in May 1997, has 277,000 customers. Its Spanish bank, introduced in May 1999, has 105,000. Its one-year-old Internet bank in Australia has 38,000, and its six-month-old bank in France has 13,000.

ING plans to market its U.S. bank in the New York, Philadelphia, and Wilmington areas before fanning out to the rest of the country.

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