As you’ve probably heard by now, U.S. financial services giant Capital One is in the process of acquiring Dutch bank ING Groep N.V.’s American online banking product, ING Direct, for some odd $9 billion or so.
I’ve been an ING Direct customer since 2007, so obviously I’m curious how the transition takes place. I’m also a ShareBuilder online brokerage account customer, which ING acquired and blended into its ING Direct brand.
Here are my predictions on how the acquisition will affect accounts, do feel free to add your own in the comments section:
1) ING Direct accounts are likely to remain fee-free, and Electric Orange checking account debit cards are likely to still enjoy free withdrawals at the 35,000+ ATMs in the Allpoint Network. Capital One doesn’t want to anger and lose all of the lucrative customers it just acquired through this deal: it will make its money by offering you new products (Capital One credit card, anyone?), not by nickel and diming you.
2) ShareBuilder should also remain more or less unaffected, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it loses the name and gets re-branded as Capital One’s online brokerage platform. After all, the ShareBuilder name has been slowly erased and merged with ING Direct’s friendly brand since it was acquired.
3) The mythic ING Direct credit card might finally come into being: Capital One is the credit empire, and if anyone knows how to launch and position a low-fee, straightforward credit card for ING deposit account customers, it’s Capital One.
4) ING Direct debit cards will likely eventually enjoy fee-free usage at Capital One ATMs and bank centres. It’s an easy value-add that will placate acquired customers and get them to trust ING Direct’s new overlords.
Or I could be completely wrong, and Capital One will keep the ING Direct brand entirely distinct and separate from its existing line. I doubt that will happen, but I’m not telepathic — hard to divine exactly what Richard Fairbank & company plan to do with their spoils of war.
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