Friday, June 17, 2011

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Buy 'Em

CapOne bought ING yesterday, for $9 billion in cash and stock.  This moves CapOne up to #5 in deposits in the U.S. from #8.  The ING brand will persist for a year or more.

The deal makes a lot of sense from many perspectives, especially if CapOne adds assets (like the HSBC card portfolio, which includes many affinity cards).  There is access to a broad base of low cost funds.  There is a big gain in online know-how.  Most of all, as system conversions go, this one looks relatively painless as the two share quite a bit of technology.

Just one problem.  The kind of customer that ING has is typically a value-hungry, simplicity-minded, big bank rejector.  And among the big banks that ING customers reject, CapOne is high on the list.  In fact, in many ways, CapOne is the anti-ING - perceived by many to be a high fee, hard to do business with, even deceptive traditional bank.  One look at the ING customer response to the news, as suggested by online comments in response to news announcements, suggests that the difficulty here in conversion will be cultural rather than systemic.

This is going to create huge opportunities FOR YOU, super-regional, regional, and community banks and credit unions.  The latter have already made a lot of hay in the wake of the "death of free checking". 

It's June 2011, do you know which of your customer households is doing business with ING, or fits the ING customer profile (online-savvy savers and fee-averse transactors)?  Yes indeed, another reason to lean heavily on a customer-relationship, lifestyle-oriented GIS system.

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