ING Direct: Oops You Don't Have Any Money

When Netbank went belly-up, all its customers and their accounts got converted to ING Direct customers, but reader Nate says they bungled his conversion and left him without funds, days before he was supposed to complete a cross-country move. He writes…

Dear ING Direct,

I’d like to explain my total frustration with the way your company is handling the transition of Netbank customers to ING Direct. When I first heard that Netbank had gone under, I was a little surprised at the news, but since I learned that our accounts would be taken over by ING, I was relieved. Up until this experience, I saw ING as a reputable bank, I was happy about the good rates, and virtually no fees. Here’s why my view of ING has gone sour.

First, ING informed us that our Netbank ATM/Debit cards would be deactivated on November 23, but our new accounts wouldn’t be created until December 8, a full two weeks later. I called customer service to ask what this was about, and a very friendly young woman explained to me that the reason for deactivating the cards on November 23 is because it is easier for ING to stop processing transactions before the holiday rush. When I asked her what she thought I should do about access to cash during the holiday rush, she suggested that I open another checking account before our ATM cards are deactivated.

Week or so later, I learn by a letter in the mail that my Netbank checking account, which I use as my primary checking account to receive and pay all my bills, will be converted to a Orange Savings account. My automatic bill-payment at Netbank will be cut off on December 7 and not transferred over, because of course you can’t pay bills from a savings account. ING will stop processing paper checks in March. C’mon ING, I know that you guys have a checking account product … it’s running an ad campaign right now … it’s called Electric Orange. Why couldn’t you convert my checking account over to that? I called the service line again to confirm that my checking & bill-pay features were really being yanked away, the rep, again very friendly, confirmed the bad news but didn’t offer any solution.

A couple days later, November 15, to be exact, I went online to open an Electric Orange account myself. I will definitely need a checking account after you close my Netbank account … and the Electric Orange features and rates look pretty good. I love the idea of an online, all-electric bank. I quickly filled out the application, got a confirmation email, two verification deposits in my Netbank checking account, and I thought things were good to go. I impatiently waited “3 – 5 days” for my new ATM/Debit card and welcome info. When it didn’t arrive, I called customer service again on November 20. “I don’t see any Electric Orange account pending, sir”

Apparently ING had no record of me opening an account online. Nothing was pending or waiting for verification as far as the service rep could tell, despite the fact that I got a confirmation email and received the verification deposits in my linked checking account. The rep was happy to open the account again for me on the phone. I go through all the questions, we almost get to the part where he gives me the account number, and rep exclaims “Oh? Some system error I have never seen before”. He was very polite an apologetic for the inconvenience, and told me that he would escalate it and someone would get back to me, probably at the end of the day or maybe tomorrow.

No call that evening or the next day. I call back later in the evening on Nov 21st. This time, an nice female rep. She again tries to open the account, and gets the same “system error”. She tells me that it would be 2 to 3 days for them to get back to me.

After the Thanksgiving weekend, November 28, I call back, and still ING has no idea of what’s going on. For some reason, I cannot open a checking account. I’m starting to panic about my financial situation. Not being able to pay bills or have access to cash is a BIG deal, and I need some answers soon because the December 7th deactivation date is coming soon. If this wasn’t enough, I’m changing jobs and moving across the country, from the East coast to West, December 5 – 9. The move is adding thousands in extra expenses to my budget this month, and my checking account in limbo is not making things any easier.

Today, a full two weeks after I originally attempted to open a checking account on Nov 15, and still without any resolution or idea of what the problem is, I have completely lost confidence in ING. Being left with no ATM card, check-writing privileges, bill-pay, or even direct debits, I have opened a checking account with another bank, and I will be taking my money elsewhere. I would have been happy to be an ING customer, had you been able to take into account the needs of your customers during this transition process. It seems like ING didn’t care about the customers in this financial transaction with Netbank and the FDIC, just the assets. And while ING’s support reps are very friendly, they don’t seem to be very good problem solvers.

Regards,
Nate C

See now that’s just sad. Because none of your customer service reps would take responsibility for the problem, you lost a customer. Oh darn, we can’t get your account to work. Shrug, guess you’re just left without money. Twiddle-dee, twiddle-dum, is there anything else I can assist you with today?

At the same time, I don’t see in escalation in here. Nate is just sticking with the same, clueless, first-level reps. He should be asking for supervisors. Make some noise! Rattle the stick around in the bucket. Move up the chain. This is your hard-earned money you’re talking about, you need to be fighting for it.

(Photo: amanjo)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Trevor says:

    That’s just inexcusable. I switched from ING to Etrade savings because Etrade offers 5.05% APY that and Etrades money transfers take one day whereas ING’s took 2-3 and many times they didn’t even go through.

  2. HRHKingFriday says:

    I would never, ever put my money in some made up invisible interwebs place like ING. Always keep your money where you can see it, hanging in your closet.

  3. punkrawka says:

    Wow, this guy got just plain hosed. Very polite letter he sent, I would’ve been steaming. This is totally contrary to all of my experiences with ING, but I would’ve done the same thing in his situation.

  4. skittlbrau says:

    I have to say, I have had very contrary experiences with ING CSRs. One of my new account referral bonuses didn’t go through, so I called to get it fixed.

    The rep apologised and sent the referral money to my account immediately. He may have hit some bad reps.

  5. alfista says:

    Our transition from Netbank to ING was smooth, including the closing of some accounts that we moved to a local brick and mortar bank. We originally had, and still have, some ING accounts. They happily waived fees and were very helpful.

  6. scoobydoo says:

    Sadly this is what happens when companies get too big.

    ING was awesome when they just did savings. Then they added mortgages, checking and other stuff. Then they purchased customers from a bankrupt bank, and now they are just another “big bank”.

    Real shame.

  7. compuwarescc says:

    I know people don’t like the man, but consider Schwab. This summer they made a shift to be much more average-joe friendly with their accounts. You can get 4% interest checking through them with excellent customer service – no minimums, no monthly/annual fees.

  8. humphrmi says:

    @HRHKingFriday:

    I would never, ever put my money in some made up invisible interwebs place like ING.

    Um, better check your facts there. ING (Internationale Nederlanden Groep) is a huge brick-and-mortar bank based in Amsterdam with offices in Canada, Peru, Chile, Spain, France, Italy, Romania, Mexico, the United States, Germany, UK, Belgium, Poland, Austria, Taiwan and Australia.

  9. vex says:

    Terrible, but this is a good example of why you shouldn’t have all your money in one place. No excuses for ING, but we have to accept that sometimes things go wrong.

  10. JustAGuy2 says:

    @scoobydoo:

    ING has always been a “big bank.” It’s got about $1 TRILLION in total assets – 2x the size of Wells Fargo, for example.

  11. RvLeshrac says:

    @vex:

    No, no it isn’t. Banks are required by federal law to keep track of your money. If they suddenly lose your money, they get it back. This is why we use banks. If you didn’t need the assurance that your money was there after, say, a house fire or burglary, you could keep the money under your mattress – it really is far more convenient.

  12. Nick986 says:

    My Dad works for ING…they ain’t going anywhere.

  13. categorically says:

    I’ve personally have had great success with ING Online CSRs. I can only assume Nate was the problem.

  14. hn333 says:

    Maybe ING just hates him. I’ve had no problem with them. Great bank.

  15. Beerad says:

    @RvLeshrac: I agree with your sentiment, but I think Vex’s point was that it might have been helpful to the OP to have another source of money (say, at another bank) if he knew his account was being transferred and he had some major expenses coming up.

    ING’s fumbling of the account is inexcusable, but as we loyal Consumerist readers know, banks screw stuff up way too often. From a practicality standpoint, better to plan for possible problems.

    Frankly, I probably would have been out of there after the first rep confirmed there would be a two-week gap during the changeover where I wouldn’t have access to the cash. If that’s the source of money I rely on for everyday spending, there’s no way I’m letting you cut off my access like that (particularly given the potential for trouble in rolling over the account, as happened to the OP). I’ll take my money elsewhere while I still can, thank you very much. If that means it has to go in a shoebox under my bed while I open another account, so be it.

  16. Rukasu says:

    Stick to ING or HSBC, something with global reach and reputable standards. I’ll never put my money in something that has ‘net’ or the letter ‘E’ at the beginning of it.

  17. pepe the king prawn says:

    easy to fix. withdraw all of your money. move. deposit it in a new account after you move.

  18. DavidS722 says:

    Surprised no one has mentioned emigrantdirect.com. If you’re only interested in a high yield online savings account with zero fees, check them out. Emigrant is paying 4.75% vs. ING’s 4.20% (and has always had higher rates than ING).

  19. doireallyneedausername says:

    @RvLeshrac:

    I agree, the bank’s continued existence is predicated on the public’s trust. Banking is about trust over anything else. Without faith in our banking system, a major leg of the national savings/lending process is removed.

    The FDIC, OCC, OTS, and other government agencies (or quasi-gov agencies in the case of the FDIC) are there to ensure that trust is not broken.

  20. tadowguy says:

    CREDIT UNION
    CREDIT UNION
    CREDIT UNION
    CREDIT UNION
    CREDIT UNION
    CREDIT UNION
    CREDIT UNION
    CREDIT UNION
    CREDIT UNION

  21. Mike_ says:

    My wife and I both moved our checking and money market accounts away from ING/Netbank over the past few weeks. I had a bad feeling about ING. They haven’t been completely forthright in their announcements to Netbank customers, and I sat on hold 45+ minutes when I called for clarification. In the end, I discovered they don’t process paper checks (a fact not communicated clearly enough by ING), and that was reason enough for me to jump ship.

    We both opened Investor Checking accounts at Schwab Bank. (Our experience with Schwab has been fabulous, by the way.) We left $1 in our Netbank Checking and Money Market accounts so we could review our transaction history. Other than that, we’re done with ING.

  22. Joe_Bagadonuts says:

    @compuwarescc:
    I went with Schwab when Netbank went under. I called ING right after the takeover and when they said my account wouldn’t be automagically switched to a ING checking account, it forced me to do some research. If they had automatically switched me to a checking account, I probably would have just stayed with ING (pure lazy). Schwab sounded best to me because of zero ATM fees, competitive interest, and I can still get free paper checks. I think ING had some ATM fees, and of course the no-paper-checks checking account. Not that I write many checks anymore, but the couple times a year I do it’s times when I need a paper check now and not in 2 days thru the mail.

  23. I quickly filled out the application, got a confirmation email, two verification deposits in my Netbank checking account, and I thought things were good to go. I impatiently waited “3 – 5 days” for my new ATM/Debit card and welcome info.

    Isn’t he supposed to confirm with ING that he got the deposits and how much they were? He missed a step there.

    At the same time, I don’t see in escalation in here.

    I think businesses need to realize that there are lots of people like Nate who aren’t going to fuss and fight just to do business with them, especially where there’s lots of competition.

  24. That70sHeidi says:

    I have to say Nate is a total idiot. (Speaking as a former bank employee and as a cross-country mover and as an online bank customer and as someone who has a lick of sense.)

    When he found out the bank was closing and he was being transferred, KNOWING that he had a move coming up, he should have immediately set up a brick and mortar account and transfered his money there. He would have had accesss to his funds and ample time to set up his billpays. In fact, that was what some other sensible person suggested too – the ING rep.

    Usually a bank will hold all new customer checks (deposits) for a week before processing the full amount (for a probation period of 30 days), however, once you establish your checking account you can CASH any paychecks without problem. If necessary, you can then deposit that cash right into your account with no hold.

    Once he was settled in his new place, he can THEN set up an online account, transfer the money back over, set up his online bill pays and be done with it.

    Never let another company handle your transfer, especially when you have a situation like Nate. He did this to himself. Always request your money, even if it’s issued via paper check, and deal with it yourself.

  25. Pylon83 says:

    Ok, I see two “issues” here. First off, I’m not sure that he should be blaming ING for the original 2 week gap problem. This whole situation is attributable to the fact that Netbank was apparently run so poorly that they went bankrupt. ING came in to help, and while there were some bumps in the road along the way, they were probably doing the best they could during the transition. While the CS issue is inexcusable, I still think that ING is not so much to blame for the initial situation (the gap).
    Second, the first thing that came to mind while reading this was “why does this guy have all his “Eggs” in one basket?”, especially an online-only basket. Situations like these are perfect examples of why it is important to have a credit card with a decent limit as a backup.
    I’m not blaming the OP at all here, just pointing out that he should have had access to other funds. But I also don’t think that ING is FULLY to blame for the situation.

  26. Pylon83 says:

    @That70sHeidi:
    I meant to, and forgot to, address that issue in my comment. The ING rep DID suggest that he setup a different account to access funds during that 2 week period. From his timeline, though it’s not entirely clear, it seems he waited at least a week between being told it would be prudent to open a different account and actually attempting to do so. That just screams lazy.

  27. sleze69 says:

    @tadowguy: How’s that Credit Union’s savings account interest rate treating you? 2%? 4% if you invest $25,000?

    I like keeping my money in my high yield savings at 4.5%. Not as high as Etrade but HSBC isn’t going anywhere either.

    Now if you’re talking access to easy loans, that’s another thing and why I have a $5 balance in Navy Federal Credit Union.

  28. The Meathead says:

    @categorically: Right, because every company is perfect 100% of the time.

  29. Mike_ says:

    @Joe_Bagadonuts: Isn’t Schwab excellent?

    I very rarely write checks, but when the need arises, making alternate arrangements is terribly inconvenient (and sometimes impossible). ING tried to sell me on their electronic checks (something about emailing a link to the recipient, and they do an ACH transfer). That might work sometimes, but what I really need is a piece of paper I can hand to the plumber or put in a birthday card. ING really should be doing more to inform Netbank customers of the “no checks” thing.

    Another thing that bothered me about ING was the way they told us everything would continue to work normally during the transition period. I went to deposit a check at the ATM (as I always have), and got an error message. ING told me this had something to do with contracts with the ATM networks. So, in other words, not everything would work the same. (“What else are they not telling me?”)

  30. Buran says:

    @categorically: Excuse me? What proof do you have? Especially when post after post after post on this site is about companies who can’t get their act together. Are those posts all our fault too?

    Fanboys blaming the victim when their favorite company fails is just getting out of hand these days.

    Maybe attitudes like yours are the problem: it’s automatically the complainant’s fault. The company is too perfect to fail.

  31. NefariousNewt says:

    @That70sHeidi: Excellent points. When you know the ship is going down, you don’t wait around to see if everyone else is going to be able get into the lifeboats. Take your money and run! Still, ING would do better to have managed the transition a little more smoothly. The fact is, banks really don’t seem to care about their depositors, even though it’s the depositors that allow the banks to operate.

  32. forgottenpassword says:

    I have never had any problems win ING. Other than them NOT being competitive (Interest rate-wise) with all the other banks mimicking what they did (offering high-yield online savings accounts). And that at one time they were cancelling people’s accounts of people who they considered “too needy” because they were calling customer service a lot.

    I switched from them to a bank with better interest rates, when they pretty much refused to remain competitive & instead focused more on mortgages. I still keep my old account with a few bucks in it hoping they will once again go back to what they used to be.

    One thing I DO hate about banks is that they typically treat their new customers like crap when taking over another bank. I have had to switch brick & mortar banks in he past because of them not honoring the former bank’s policies. I remember when BA (I think it was BA) took over boatman’s bank & people were leaving in droves afterwards (so much so that he tellers were pissed) & heading over to a rival bank.

  33. Amelie says:

    categorically said:
    “I’ve personally have had great success with ING Online CSRs. I can only assume Nate was the problem.”

    I’ve personally have had great success with COMCAST CSR’s. I can only assume anyone who didn’t, was the problem.

  34. MercuryPDX says:

    Symetra was holding my 401k, and they were acquired/bought/taken-over by ING in October. My money has been in “limbo” with them since 10/25/07, despite all the transfer-out paperwork I’ve submitted being in proper order. Every call to Symetra has lead to another plausible “you-also-need-to-jump-through-this-hoop” excuse.

    Since I supposedly cleared my last hoop, we’ll see what they say today. Next step is escalation.

  35. Crim Law Geek says:

    I suggest a call to the FDIC might solve this. Seeing as this is an FDIC sponsored/controlled take-over, they might be willing to grease some wheels for you.

  36. S-the-K says:

    All of this sound way too familiar! Back in the dot-com days, Netbank bought out another internet bank. Reading the forums back then there were a plethora of complaints about the bungled transfer of accounts. Accounts were locked. Checks bounced. Mortgages went unpaid.

    Fast forward a few years… In May, I read from a Netbank press release that they were going to be bought out by another internet bank. This raised red flags with me. They said that it would be complete by September. Well, it’s mid-September and I still haven’t heard anything. I go investigating and discover that two days prior, there was a press release from the other bank (no mention ever from Netbank) that the deal had fallen through.

    I could see that the ship was sinking, and I pulled my money out of there the next day. By the end of the month, the FDIC shut Netbank’s doors and sold the accounts to ING Direct.

    I am so glad I bailed out when I did. I knew something like this was going to happen. Bank mergers are always a nightmare for the customers.

  37. vex says:

    @RvLeshrac: Yes, I know. But still that process can’t happen overnight. So its nice to have your money in multiple locations so that if you DO have a problem, you still have access to your funds while the bank sorts out your problem.

  38. johnva says:

    ING isn’t that good anyway if your goal is to get high interest rates (and why else would you really be using an online savings bank?). Their rates suck compared to many of their competitors.

  39. purkinje says:

    I’m not sure why Nate didn’t just write out a check to cash. He had access to all of his money the entire time he was freaking out about not having access to his money.

    I’ve had no trouble with the Netbank to ING conversion. I pre-emptively opened an Electric Orange account and re-entered my bill payment information. Already have my new ATM card. I’ll miss automatic bill presentation, but so far everything has been a breeze. I can only hope that the Sharebuilder to ING conversion goes as well.

  40. NoWin says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Isn’t he supposed to confirm with ING that he got the deposits and how much they were? He missed a step there.

    Sounds very plausible. Without that confirmation step, there is no information on “a then, valid, account” to have displayed to the CSR’s to help the guy with. Otherwise, his enrollment is still in a setup profile only accessible to supervisory higher-ups within a Security & Compliance New Accounts Dept (or similar) (at least in the bank I work for)

  41. Buran says:

    @tadowguy: THEY AREN’T THE MAGIC ANSWER TO EVERYTHING

    THEY AREN’T THE MAGIC ANSWER TO EVERYTHING

    THEY AREN’T THE MAGIC ANSWER TO EVERYTHING

    THEY AREN’T THE MAGIC ANSWER TO EVERYTHING

    THEY AREN’T THE MAGIC ANSWER TO EVERYTHING

    THEY AREN’T THE MAGIC ANSWER TO EVERYTHING

    THEY AREN’T THE MAGIC ANSWER TO EVERYTHING

    THEY AREN’T THE MAGIC ANSWER TO EVERYTHING

    THEY AREN’T THE MAGIC ANSWER TO EVERYTHING

  42. rioja951 - Why, oh why must I be assigned to the vehicle maintenance when my specialty is demolitions? says:

    @humphrmi: Well, down in mexico their financial services are not as a bank, but as brokers. Meaning insurance, stock, and all the other bells and whistles.

    I do admit, they are a very good broker service. Just a simple FYI.

  43. drjayphd says:

    @Buran: +1
    +1
    +1
    +1
    +1
    +1
    +1
    +1
    +1

  44. aka Cat says:

    I got a confirmation email and received the verification deposits in my linked checking account.

    I’m confused… if you have a linked checking account, why aren’t you just using that?

    Unless the checking account you linked the ING account to was your Netbank account? If that’s the case, I’m not sure how you thought that would work, since the Netbank account was going to become an ING savings account. (I’m not blaming you, the ING system should have told you that wasn’t a legitimate link when you tried to set up the account.)

    Using the Netbank account as the linked checking account could also be causing the error that the CSRs started getting on Nov 20. Their system was sort-of recognizing that the Netbank account was/is about to become an ING savings account, preventing the new account creation. (And a small coding oversight prevented the error message from stating that explicitly.)

    Since it’s now the 7th — I hope you got it straightened out already.

  45. InsaneFurry says:

    I am not surprised this is happening. Netbank was so bad that after dealing with them I will no longer even consider an on-line only bank. I went through the Compubank-netbank merger and it took 4 months just to get netbank to admit they had my account, and even longer to get my money out. I think the problem here is ING is having major problems dealing with netbank’s screwed up systems.

  46. ebz06 says:

    Hmm . . . interesting comments. A Netbank customer almost since inception with no problems, I was pleased to see that ING intended to provide us a seamless transition. I too, was a bit disheartened when I discovered that they do not process paper checks (seems a bit impersonable to send an electronic Christmas gratuity to the newspaper carrier–but what the hell: it’s 2007). Recognizing ING had a massive task ahead of them, I unfortunately followed the advice of ING to be proactive in setting up an “Electric Orange” (checking account) to accompany the savings account that they were going to transfer my money to. They convinced me that I would be helping to streamline the transfer process. The result: with the transfer taking place yesterday, I’ve now wound up with FIVE ING accounts! Maybe a “dealbreaker”. This, combined with the difficulty of transferring money to/from external accounts, I’ll be looking around.

  47. jyhull says:

    I totally feel Nates frustration. I too have had a totally botched transition from NetBank to ING. First with the ATM cards being stopped 2 weeks prior to the transition to now being 1.5 weeks since the transition and I still have not received the pin number for my new ATM card (making it over 3 weeks of not being able to access my cash, yes I could’ve pulled out more money prior to the ATM card stoppage but unfortunately I live paycheck to paycheck and didn’t have the funds at that time)

    Their customer service people have been no help (per Nate’s letter, very friendly but absolutely no help), everytime I ask if something can be done I am told that they are not able to help me and that I wil have to wait 5 – 7 business days for resolution.

    After headache after headache with ING (I’ve had pin number issues accessing their website as well), I have decided to forego dealing with this company ever again. I closed my account with them and now have to wait an addition 7 – 10 business days before I receive a check for the money that was transitioned over to them and also my last paycheck. (That’ll make it over a month before I’ve been able to truely access my accounts….the only good thing about this whole transition is that for one day I was able to access my account online and use their bill pay to make my car payment, the next day when I logged in I was told my password was incorrect and I would need to wait 5 – 7 business days before a new pin would be sent to me).

    I am happy to hear that at least some NetBank customers had a smooth transition, but I for one will never recommend INGs products or services to anyone that I know.