July 16, 2024

Bucks: Capital One’s Response to Outrage Over ING Direct Purchase

ING Direct USA account holders are reacting to the sale of the online bank about as well as they would if Capital One’s famous television barbarians had battered down the doors of their homes.

Social media sites, including ING Direct’s own Facebook page, and banking blogs have erupted with customer antipathy for the deal, which was announced last week. A sale was required by European regulators as a condition of financial assistance given to ING’s  Dutch parent bank during the banking crisis. ING Direct, headquartered in Wilmington, Del., offers savings accounts, checking accounts, mortgages and brokerage services to 7.7 million customers.

The main theme of the rants — er, posts — seems to be the concern that ING’s brand of low-fee, low-maintenance banking, combined with responsive customer service, would soon be a thing of the past under the new ownership.

ING became popular offering no frills accounts, a savings account with competitive rates but no minimum balance, for instance, and no monthly fee. Users also especially like a feature that lets them easily establish subsavings accounts for specific purposes, like vacations or taxes, and have money transferred automatically from other accounts.

“TERRIBLE NEWS,” said a typical entry, from someone called Red Broad on the Facebook page.

“I’ve been really happy with ING, but C1 have a horrible reputation for fees and customer support, quite the opposite to ING’s business model. I’m really sad to see it go this way. I’m willing to bet that ING will lose at least 50% or more of its account holders due to this takeover. What a shame to see a truly customer oriented bank fall into the hands of a bank with probably the worst customer relations out there. I REALLY DON’T want to change banks, I LOVE my banking experience with ING, I can’t see me staying with C1 though so I guess I’ll just have to start looking around…sigh…”

And this one, from Steve Bush: “I feel betrayed by a trusted friend. What a shame.”

Many of the posts used language that can’t be used in a newspaper, although a few optimistic comments dismissed the predictions of banking apocalypse. “A lot of you people seem to be taking this a little too hard,” said Matt Cannon on Facebook. “No one has any idea yet what’s going to happen, but I severely doubt ING Direct will see any significant change in the way they do business, no need to run for the hills yet.”

We here at Bucks wondered if this outpouring of emotion gave the folks at Capital One pause, so we asked them some questions that seem to be on customers’ minds. The bank declined to provide “yes or no” answers to queries about specific changes, saying it was too soon to do so. But the spokeswoman Tatiana Stead did offer the following responses via e-mail.

To us, it looks like they’re at least leaving open the option of adding fees and minimum balances and subsuming the ING Direct brand altogether. Do you feel reassured by the responses below?

Q: Why are customers of ING so upset about the sale of their bank to Capital One?

ING has developed a unique connection with its customers. There are millions of “happy savers” across the country who are incredibly loyal and value their relationship with ING. We truly appreciate that, and we intend to do everything we can to maintain that trust and their enthusiasm.

We deeply understand and respect the value and the loyalty ING has created.  Together with the ING team, we have the capabilities and insights to sustain and build the power of that franchise to better serve customers and create great value for our shareholders and associates.

Q: What changes are you planning to make to ING Direct’s account offerings? Will subaccounts for specific savings goals remain?

We have no plans to make any significant changes. ING customers should expect the same great customer experience and the “status quo” from ING for the foreseeable future.

Q. Are you planning any new fees or minimum balance requirements?

ING Direct has built a large and valuable franchise of engaged customers by focusing on a few simple proconsumer products.  We deeply understand the value of the loyalty and advocacy ING Direct has been able to build with its customers.  Everything we do as we integrate our businesses will be thoughtful and surefooted with a focus on sustaining and building that customer loyalty. We will focus on the customers, channels, products, and pricing strategies that build the best long-term customer relationships and deliver the best cost of funds.

Q: Does the reaction suggest Capital One might need to enhance customer service? How might this be done?

ING was a pioneer in direct banking and has built an incredibly successful, customer-centric model focused on building and sustaining long-term relationships. One of our primary objectives will be to ensure that we sustain and, where we can, enhance the exceptional customer experience ING delivers today. We want to reassure the current customers of ING Direct that the great products and experience they’ve come to expect will continue and, in fact, expand over time.

Q. Will ING Direct be operated separately or integrated into Capital One’s operations?

ING Direct and Capital One share a heritage of innovation, a strong focus on building customer franchise and an unwavering commitment to find, empower and unleash extremely talented people.  We have been impressed with the management team of ING Direct and what they have accomplished.

As I am sure you will appreciate, over the upcoming weeks we want to get to know ING Direct’s management team and associates even better as we determine how best to organize to deliver the customer experience as well as the financial and strategic results we have been discussing.

Capital One will work closely with the leadership team at ING Direct team to establish a management structure designed to ensure that the combined company achieves the highest quality integration and has the best leadership in place to carry on and build upon ING Direct’s great customer franchise.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=19c605ce4a29fe07d3e42e7c6a2f218e

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