A financial institution with more than 85 million customers around the globe must be doing something right. ING Direct, the largest direct bank and the largest thrift in the U.S., has more than a decade of experience in online banking.
With its signature orange and blue color scheme and lion logo, ING Direct has established a well-recognized consumer brand in online banking.
Although the concept of online-only banking is relatively new, ING Direct actually has a long history in the banking world. ING Direct is backed by ING, a global financial institution of Dutch origin that offers banking, insurance and asset management to private, corporate and institutional clients in more than 50 countries. ING employs over 130,000 people worldwide. In the U.S., ING has been operating for over 100 years and employs more than 10,000 people at its Wilmington, Delaware headquarters and elsewhere.
As of 2010, ING Direct has more than $91.2 billion in assets and over 7.5 million customers in the U.S. ING Direct divisions in Canada, Australia, France, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Austria and Germany serve over 21 million customers.
The Better Business Bureau considers ING Direct an Accredited Business and gives it an A+ rating.
Online customer reviews of ING Direct are generally positive for overall satisfaction, customer service, banking rates, online experience, lack of fees, and ease of using the website. ING Direct is the online bank for depositors who want simplicity and clarity in product choices.
While ING Direct does not have any branches, the bank has opened cafes in several U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York. At these cafes, customers can buy coffee, browse the Internet and learn more about the ING Direct's services. All account services are handled online and by phone or by mail.
ING Direct first launched with a basic savings account and expanded its portfolio quickly to include a checking account that earns interest and allows customers to pay their bills online.
Customers can also choose a certificate of deposit (CD) that fits their needs. A CD is available for any term between six months and sixty months.
Additional products offered by ING Direct include award-winning home mortgage loans, retirement accounts and a ShareBuilder brokerage account that allows consumers to diversify beyond deposits.
The ING Direct website includes a "Tips and Tools" section that provides necessary information for customers about financial planning and includes a special section that helps parents teach their children about personal finance.
The resources that ING Direct extends to customers includes a "We, the Savers" blog, which it deems the "Official Blog of Savers." There, savers can unite by responding to blog posts, voting in polls, hitting up "freebies" of online badges and tools and signing a ten-point "Declaration of Financial Independence." It's a traditional message repackaged with simplicity and clarity -- just like ING Direct itself.
ING Direct is a force in the direct banking world and has built a solid reputation, but every consumer should be certain that their own savings are insured and will be restored to them in the unlikely event of a bank failure. As of July 2010, all deposit accounts at ING Direct are FDIC-insured to the maximum amount of $250,000 per depositor.
If an individual account balance with ING Direct is approaching the limit, coverage can be maintained by opening another account with joint ownership which will have separate FDIC insurance coverage.