It has been fascinating to go through this process for the last few months. With so much to consider, of most importance to me, has been the effect this has on our employees and our customers. I have always believed that change is most often a good thing. But I’m aware that change can certainly be frightening for some.
15 years ago, ING DIRECT set out to challenge the way Canadians think about banking and show with action and advocacy the role a bank can play in society. We set out to help Canadians live better lives by providing a different way of banking that would allow us to offer great value for their hard-earned money and a level of service that had not been delivered before. We built a team and a culture that would allow this to continue day after day, month after month and year after year.
That’s the essence that makes ING DIRECT so special, and it has certainly left a mark on a great many Canadians and our impact is increasing daily. We know this because our loyal customers tell us every day – and Scotiabank knows that too. That’s why they have committed to preserving everything that our employees and customers have come to love about ING DIRECT.
I have had the opportunity to have several lengthy discussions with Scotiabank’s senior leadership who clearly indicate that ING DIRECT will operate separately, as a wholly-owned subsidiary, as we do today. Imagine, exchanging one shareholder for another – a swap, one ING Group for one Scotiabank. We will continue to deliver what Canadians have come to expect from us: excellent service, simple, transparent and innovative products, and great value. Same promise as before.
Because ING Group is a global bank, they don’t want anyone else using their name. Other than Donald Trump and Richard Branson’s Virgin name, few companies make a business out of licensing out their name. So, in 18 months our name will need to change. So will our logo. And in as much as I love the color orange, I always had another secret favourite, purple! My point is, it really doesn’t matter what our name is. Ok, it matters to some degree, but what really matters is that we understand what customers want by listening to them, that when we make promises to customers, that we deliver on them. This is what we plan to continue to do and with Scotiabank standing behind us, we think there is a great opportunity to spread the word faster among Canadians and offer a few more ‘orange’ products and features that Canadians have been asking for.
All of the ING DIRECT employees are passionate about what we have been doing for the past 15 years and the team is excited to continue driving the ‘orange’ program forward. When the sale is completed (it is subject to regulatory approvals), the ball will be in the hands of Scotiabank. They however have been quite clear that ING DIRECT won’t change a bit. You will really appreciate this advertisement to all of our customers from Scotiabank which clearly demonstrates how they would like to proceed.
It would be foolish to change a business model that has worked exceptionally well for 15 years and is particularly well suited for the way Canadians will do much of their banking in the future. We are looking forward to what we can provide our customers and our employees now and in the future, to innovate and build on our strengths, while being owned by a strong Canadian parent company that is committed to maintaining what has made ING DIRECT special.
Today is a very exciting day. It’s a day to look forward and to embark on the next chapter of a very exciting future for everyone who has come to love ING DIRECT. Change has an unfavourable reputation at times. But it shouldn’t. Change is necessary, to keep us moving, to keep us growing and to keep us inspired.
Thank you all for your support, always.