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Did ING Direct Customers Overreact to the Capital One Purchase?
Last summer, hoards of ING Direct customers announced their immediate departure from the online bank after the news that Capital One would be the new home to these customers. However, the decision may have been impulsive for some former customers.

The proclaimed loyalty of ING Direct customers was tested when these customers learned that their favorite online bank was to be housed under the roof of Capital One.

“I couldn’t imagine two more opposite companies coming together,” wrote one ING Direct customer in a bank review. “As such, I’m leaving ING Direct after nearly 10 years there.”

Another ING Direct customer, who provided a stellar review of the online bank, closed his accounts and deemed Capital One to be “a company whose unethical behavior is repugnant.”

But, if ING Direct and its signature features do not undergo any major overhaul under Capital One’s direction, would customers still find a reason to leave?
No Plans for Change

ING Direct has long carried a reputation for great rates, low fees, and an outstanding online experience.

Some ING Direct customers are holding out on the decision to leave — to see how the legendary online bank will change. The acquisition is scheduled to complete by the end of March 2012.

In an email, a Capital One spokesperson says that there are “no current plans to change ING customer accounts”. “Customers will still enjoy competitive rates, no fees and the same online experience they’ve come to know from ING Direct.”

However, there exists a group of ING Direct customers who left simply to avoid affiliation with big banks – those that have been blamed for creating the recent financial crisis and those that have the potential to cause another one.
ING Culture in Jeopardy?

It is not unusual for banks to have small online banking divisions that seemingly conduct operations with different methodologies.

For example, Incredible Bank is the online banking division of River Valley Bank, a bank with 17 branches in Michigan and Wisconsin. Incredible Bank’s checking account earns up to 1.01% APY while the Advantage Checking Plus account from River Valley Bank pays just 0.05% APY while other features of both accounts are relatively identical.

If the worry revolves around interest rates, fees, and the banking experience, and Capital One doesn’t institute significant changes to ING Direct, there may not be enough of a reason to leave.

Additionally, Capital One had agreed to purchase HSBC’s branded U.S. credit card business. The influx of ING Direct deposits would allow Capital One to sustain the new lending unit and, consequently, competitive interest rates.

If you’re an ING Direct who’ve waited to see what would happen, are you more or less likely to leave ING Direct after knowing Capital One’s plans (or lack thereof)?

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