Erik Fortgens, the new head of ING Bank Fund

Erik Tereza.jpg

31. 5. 2021

ING Czech Republic has been cooperating with the Tereza Maxová Foundation for already 16 years, through our joint ING Bank Fund of the Tereza Maxová Foundation. The cooperation is much more than the annual contribution from the bank. It has triggered a long-term engagement of volunteers from all different parts of ING in the activities of the Fund. One of them is Erik Fortgens, Head of Wholesale Banking at ING Czech Republic, who has also become the Head of the ING Bank Fund of the Tereza Maxová Foundation.

Erik, what does it mean for you to be the Head of the ING Bank Fund?
Erik: It is a great opportunity and at the same a big responsibility. In 16 years, ING and the Tereza Maxová Foundation have helped thousands of children, in their education and development, children who would hardly achieve it without the help of society. I myself head the part of the bank that takes care of ING's clients from the largest companies, I believe that by participating in the work of the Fund I will send a clear signal to colleagues that what the Fund does is important and if they get involved, they have my support.

You came to the Czech ING last October, but you have experience from other countries. How do you perceive the functioning of the fund in this comparison?
Erik: Human rights are universal, and this means that every person around the world deserves to be treated with dignity and have their interests considered equally. Banks have an important role in facilitating positive change for society. But we also know that we at ING know can’t do it alone, so we engage with clients, business partners, financial institutions, government organizations and with organizations like the Tereza Maxová Foundation. Such a long-running successful partnership is exceptional even within ING, not only in terms of its duration, but also in terms of how it supports our goals, Orange culture and employee engagement, I am truly impressed how we manage this in the Czech Republic and have gained the enthusiasm of so many of our colleagues. 

Is there any particular story that has touched you?
Erik: Yes, contrary to the many uncertainties surrounding us, and while dealing with practical and emotional challenges, like managing young children or teenagers who are off school, providing support to elderly parents, feeling isolated, or just wondering what the next day will bring, at ING, we have been able to rely on a functioning working environment and fantastic colleagues around the globe. It is hard for any of us to imagine how difficult it was for educators in children's homes during the first wave of the pandemic, who had to take care of dozens of children, each from a different grade without the necessary equipment. At that time, ING contributed for donation of laptops and other equipment, thanks to which more than 2,500 children could learn better and safer remotely. The stories and photos that came to us from orphanages and foster families really touched me.

Finally, the question is, what would you like to achieve as a new fund manager?
Erik: During all these years ING Bank Fund has been able to help and bring a lot of positive change and together with all my ING colleagues I would to like to continue the good work. You may have noticed in the media that ING is closing its retail banking activities in the Czech Republic, but we remain committed to our many corporate clients and financial institutions we have been servicing throughout the last almost 30 years. We will also continue to support the development and education of disadvantaged children, and the Tereza Maxová Foundation is a partner we value very much, and we very much look forward to continuing that partnership.

About the Foundation > News > Erik Fortgens, the new head of ING Bank Fund

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