Capital One’s Non-Response to ING Direct Purchase

Per many reports from Reuters and WSJ and more, Capital One is buying online bank ING Direct. After being bailed out by the Dutch government in 2008, parent company ING Groep NV was required to sell the US bank by 2013 as part of their restructuring plan. Other major suitors included Ally Bank and General Electric.

So while a takeover was expected, many people were unhappy with the announcement that the were soon to be customers of Capital One. They were rightly afraid the stubbornly simple and straightforward bank culture would change. I personally didn’t really care, banks change all the time and I just go with whomever has the best rate and feature combo available right now. ING Direct has been content with “just good enough” rates for a while. Here’s where I keep my cash these days, I’m earning much more than 1%.

However, the NYT Times Bucks blog ran an interview with Capital One about the sale yesterday, and it was just too horrible not to make fun of. Read the original, real interview first, with more vague, lawyer-approved, corporate double-talk you could imagine. In my *parody* version below, let’s imagine what they’d say if allowed to be brutally honest.

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

ING Direct was known for simplicity, directness, and good customer service. Capital One is known mostly for credit cards that don’t properly report credit limits to bureaus so it hurts your credit scores, a surprisingly good foreign transaction fee model, and TV ads with Vikings and Alec Baldwin.

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

Well, many good features including that one are already in place and it would be really, really stupid to mess it up. But the lawyers won’t let me commit to anything in writing or they will eat a kitten.

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

If we think it will make us more money in the end, then hell yeah.

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

Yes. No idea.

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

Look, we just saw over $80 billion in bank deposits paying out just 1% interest. Do you have any idea how much interest we’d get paid by lending that out to people with our credit cards??? Cha-ching!

To repeat: These are a parody. I am actually a satisfied customer that has used a CapOne credit card for international purchases for several years. But hopefully they’ll realize that bland PR talk does not make more engaged, passionate customers.


  1. Sunil from The Extra Money Blog says:

    interesting post, and funny too. i use both ‘banks’ in some way and the experience has been GREAT!

  2. While I’m a very long-time ING customer, I’ve recently moved all of my savings to Ally’s 5 yr CDs (due to the high rate and short early withdrawal penalty (60 days) on all CDs. I still use ING checking as my automatic bill paying account and continue to hold a Sharebuilder account in case I want to buy some funds or something. ING used to be one of the best as far as rates were concerned, but now they’re just average.

    I guess we’ll see what the Capital One deal does to ING. Probably won’t be for the better.

  3. I’m sticking with ING until and unless the things I like about ING go away.

    One thing Capital One could do to actually improve ING is to add the ability to add a beneficiary. Competitors like Emigrant Direct and FNBO Direct have had that feature for years.

    But if they CapOne’s ING stays in the neighborhood with interest rates, continues to maintain an attractive and intuitive site, and KEEPS THE UNIQUE SUBACCOUNT FEATURE, I’ll be sticking with them.

  4. So Dan, you’re going to stick around until Capital One finds a way to charge you for leaving? As soon as my direct deposit cutoff takes effect I am out of there before Cap One gets a chance to mess with me.

  5. Hal, has any bank ever done that – charged checking/savings account customers for leaving? I’ve had a lot of bank accounts and haven’t seen that trick.

    Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t happy to see CapOne emerge as the winner in the ING sweepstakes. My girlfriend’s bank was taken over by Capital One, and I’m familiar with several shortcomings both online and in the branches. Just don’t see the need to hurry. What if they actually do something right this time and ING accounts don’t lose their appeal?

  6. By the way, Jonathan, I like the Pac Man graphic!

  7. SanDance says:

    Capital one’s InterestPlus Online Savings account actually earns more interest (1.1%) than ING Direct. Add to that a 10% bonus (equivalent to 1.2% APY) if you have an active Capital One credit card. The kicker is the $1000 minimum to get that rate. I am a customer of both banks and have been relatively pleased. I am cautious of Capital One bank because of their notoriously deceptive practices, but if one plays by the rules, one can exploit them just like any other bank.

  8. While Capital One is most known for the credit card side of their business, they also have a solid brick-and-mortar retail banking division (where customer service is provided and product decisions are made by a different set of people altogether). They have hundreds of branches in the New York metropolitan area, and I use them as my local bank because they are the only major bank in the area that still offers free checking and free savings accounts with no minimum balance. No idea what’s going to happen to ING, of course. I still have an account with a couple of bucks at ING, but I recently switched to Ally bank for most of my transactions primarily for the all-ATM-fees-refunded feature, and I’m loving it.

  9. I’ve been using Capital One Online Bank for my Emergency fund for several years now. I’ve never had any problem with them. I’m low maintenance though. I’ve only called customer service once to inquire about closing my old account and opening a new one with the Costco deal for higher interest rate.

  10. Can anybody explain the “point” of the barbarians in the Capital One ads? I truly don’t get it… not at all.

    It actually gives me a small feeling of satisfaction seeing the barbarian ads and knowing I do not do business with Capital One. I am an ING Direct customer, and I will give C1 a chance but at the first “bad sign” I’m leaving!

  11. The point of the barbarians is that you remember them and you remember they are Capital One advertisements. That’s pretty much all advertisments are supposed to do.

  12. Brad Ford says:

    I use Quicken to manage my money. Recently, ING “upgraded” its security and Quicken Update no longer works properly with it. Now, I have to go to ING’s site to download transactions.

    I am already looking for a good online bank with good rates for savings and ease of use for checking. I like to keep $5k in a savings account where my checking b/c of possibility of emergencies.

  13. Dan,

    Some banks DO charge for leaving. My HSA has an account closing fee which is imposed regardless of how long the account has been open. The bank is Optum Health Bank, a division of United Healthcare, which I am forced to used by my employer in order to get a match on my contributions. I think the fee is only $10, but it’s there.

  14. I’m glad to see somebody talking about this. I love the parody too! We don’t have much in our ING account anymore, but will be closing it out soon. I don’t want to have to deal with CaptialOne.

  15. tom sundermeier says:

    and this is why I just closed my ING account and will be moving my money elsewhere.

  16. SanDance says:

    @Brad Ford: MoneyDance 2011 works with the new ING site. You have to use the ING PIN for logging into the website and a new, different access code for read-only access to the account by account aggregation software (Yodlee, Mint, Quicken, etc..)
    Jim Wang describes it at Bargaineering:

  17. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says:

    Will be interesting to see how many consumers switch the ING account to another location and how many stick with them through the merger.

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