ING Direct CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann spoke earlier this week at the Prepaid Expo in Las Vegas, comparing his company to other innovators like Southwest Airlines and Google.
“Start with a Clean Sheet”
Kuhlmann said that the goal for ING Direct was to become a retailer, not a bank. Rather than focus on creating a large number of complicated financial products, ING instead innovated and expanded upon a few basic banking products, utilizing new technological advanced to their advantage.
High Number of Open Accounts
According to Kuhlmann, ING Direct opens as many as 100,000 accounts every month, and he doesn’t mind at all closing accounts of those people who don’t deeply value the unique way that ING Direct does business. He trust in his product to speak for itself, with 40% of the new accounts opened through word of mouth.
Instead, Kuhlmann suggested, according to an article by Steve Keitz, that innovators should be willing to change the way that their customer views traditional services. ING has utilized branding to spread the word of their product, a completely online deposit account that with 800,000 new accounts, is possibly the most successful checking account acquisition program ever.