Anytime two companies merge/buy each other, the spinsters go into overdrive blathering about how synergies will produce everything from better profits to better products to better customer service. Despite the fact that far too many mergers and acquisitions simply don’t (read Billion Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn from the Most Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Years), companies seem intent on continuing the practice.
That brings us to the recent $9 billion purchase of online bank ING by traditional bank Capital One. From my perspective (business owner, district manager, MBA, customer) these are two incompatible business models. What made ING great was that it wasn’t a mainstream bank with mainstream rules and fees and what makes Capital One a sometimes maligned banking institution is its abundance of mainstream rules and fees. According to Time, Capital One is renowned for jacking up rates and charging mysterious penalty fees. Not very ING-like … at all.
Even the New York Times has written about it:
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.
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.
Nice to see some objective journalism on the NYT’s part with that little jab about “rants” but what else should we expect?
Capital One’s response to the outrage (again from the NYT)?
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.
Two key words:
- “significant” – significant to whom?
- “foreseeable future” – that could be as little as 24 hours from now
What are your banking options since ING was sold?
Your first option is to do nothing. Ride it out. Let the chips fall where they may and hope your “significant” is the same as a billion-dollar banker’s and that the “foreseeable future” is a couple of decades.
A better option is to BE PROACTIVE and open new savings and checking accounts. Where?
Checking Account Options Post ING/Capital One Merger
My first recommendation would be a PerkStreet checking account. With their rewards (perks), no monthly fee, and great customer service, you cannot go wrong. (there’s a rumor that PerkStreet will soon have a savings account!)
Another great option is Ally Bank (who reportedly was also in the running to buy ING). Ally, like ING, also has no minimum balance requirements, offers free bill pay, and pays decent interest rates on their savings accounts.
Savings Account Options Post ING/Capital One Merger
Again, Ally Bank would be at the top of my list for online savings accounts and if you prefer to have your checking and savings at the same bank, Ally would be a natural. If you want to earn a little more interest than what a savings account traditionally pays, you could always sign up for a “raise your rate CD” and have the option to raise your CD’s interest rate once during the two year term. A 4 year, 2-raise CD is on the horizon too!
Another option for savings is to consider Discover Bank. With savings, CD’s, money market accounts, and even IRA CD’s, Discover Bank has a lot going for it. You should include them in your research for a new bank.
I really hope ING doesn’t change, but …
Known for their sharp elbows to the ribs of fee-driven competitor banks, ING has been a breath of fresh air to those of us fed up with stupid bank rules and stupid bank fees. I sincerely HOPE that ING doesn’t change, but I’m not holding my breath.
And I’m not going to wait around to find out. I’m not closing my accounts there, but I am drawing them down and opening new ones … just in case. Considering how easy it is to open new accounts at PerkStreet, Ally Bank, and Discover Bank, why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t you?
Photo by Lisandro M. Enrique