Capital One Tries, Fails To Allay Fears Of ING Direct Customers

When we first reported that Capital One would be purchasing online bank ING Direct, the response from ING customers was overwhelmingly negative with some variation on “noooooo” being a common comment. But lest you think everyone at Cap One is a barbarian (and/or viking), a rep for the perennial Worst Company In America contestant talked to the NY Times to allay ING customers’ fears about their new overlords.

Admitting that people are not terribly thrilled about the news of ING’s acquisition, the Capital One rep says the bank has “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.”

But any hope that somewhat direct response might have engendered might be erased by the rep’s answer to the Times’ query about any new fees or minimum balance requirements:

ING Direct has built a large and valuable franchise of engaged customers by focusing on a few simple proconsumer products. We deeply understand the value of the loyalty and advocacy ING Direct has been able to build with its customers. Everything we do as we integrate our businesses will be thoughtful and surefooted with a focus on sustaining and building that customer loyalty. We will focus on the customers, channels, products, and pricing strategies that build the best long-term customer relationships and deliver the best cost of funds.

I’m sorry… what about new fees?

Capital One gives a similar non-answer about whether or not the negative reaction suggests that the bank might need to improve its own customer service.

“We want to reassure the current customers of ING Direct that the great products and experience they’ve come to expect will continue and, in fact, expand over time,” says the rep. By “expand,” does she mean Capital One will offer more products, or just that the fees for existing products will get larger?

And when it comes to the topic of whether ING Direct will operate separately from Cap One or if the two banks will be integrated, the rep talks about the companies’ shared heritages “of innovation” and takes 142 words to say what could have been answered in three: We’re not telling.

If you really want to slog through the rep’s double talk, feel free to read the entire Q&A at the NY Times site.