From Coast Capital to ING DIRECT: Where My Bank Loyalty Lies

In 2006, my boyfriend at the time convinced me to move all of my bank accounts from CIBC to Coast Capital Savings Credit Union. His first selling point was that it would be easier for us to transfer money to each other and then I was (obviously) sold on the idea of no longer having to pay any banking fees. But it didn’t take long for me to see that Coast Capital offered more than free banking.

After a few months of banking with them, I experienced something that never happened in all the years I entered CIBC’s doors: I was greeted by my first name. From that day on, “Hi Caitlin!” was the warm greeting I received every time Starr saw me walk into the James Bay branch in Victoria. She would then ask me how I was doing and whether I was there to see Matt or Erin. Starr knew me and she knew who I dealt with.

Because of this, and all of the great experiences I have had with Matt, Erin, and various tellers, I’ve been heartbroken at the thought of not being able to bank with them in Toronto. Just days before leaving, I went into the James Bay branch and told Starr I was moving. I also told her she’d be missed. “No bank in Toronto is going to greet you by name, Caitlin!” No, they probably aren’t.

And so began my search for a new bank.

With years of free banking under my belt, I was having a hard time stomaching the idea of paying anyone, so I looked for a chequing account with benefits that could potentially outweigh the cost. Scotiabank’s Moneyback Account seemed like it could possibly break even. The Unlimited Chequing Account with CIBC came with a ton of Aeroplan Miles. And RBC and Shoppers Drug Mart had a nice offer too.

But I couldn’t get past the concept of having to pay for something that didn’t need to be paid for. So, I looked at ING DIRECT. I already have a THRiVE Chequing account with ING, as well as a couple of savings accounts, so you would think the answer to my banking dilemma would have been simple. My one hesitation was the fact that there are no actual banking institutions you can visit.

Stepping into the ING DIRECT Café on Yonge Street, earlier this week, took away most of my concerns. The staff were friendly and answered all of my questions, in an environment that made me feel both smart and at ease (unlike most traditional banks). I still have concerns (is it possible to get a bank draft from ING!?) but, overall, I know I will be happy doing my daily banking with them.

It also doesn’t hurt that ING DIRECT does an incredible job of reaching out to people through social media. I’ve had numerous interactions with ING on Twitter but, just days before my move, I was surprised to see this congratulatory tweet with a link to my post. It may not have been in Starr’s voice, but I think I’ve found another bank who will greet my “by name”.

How did you choose who to bank with? What keeps you with them?

  • I have accounts at ING, which I use for the free banking. I also have some accounts with Scotiabank, mostly because that’s where I keep my credit card and line of credit. I don’t use them much though so the fees are pretty low. I joined ING last year and so far I’m really happy with the service.

  • i didn’t even know that ing had branch offices!.. (perhaps they don’t down here in the states).. but yeah, we use them for a checking about six savings accounts (including for all the kids).. their full-featured accounts, promotional bonuses, and virtually zero fee approach– really makes them one of my very favorite companies

    • Oh, it’s not a branch office – it’s literally a cafe where they serve coffee, juice, pastries, etc. But there are iPads available for use, as well as a few ATMs, all in a cool environment. And I do all of my saving with them too!

      • I live in a city in the states WITH an ING cafe, and I’ve never been (shame on me)! I do all of my savings with them, but I have questions about their investment options. Can you actually talk with a banker at these cafes?

  • Hey there Caitlin. Thank you for writing such a lovely blog. We are sorry that you will miss Starr in Victoria but we will do our best to fill the gap. I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before you hear that familiar “good morning Caitlin” at our Toronto Cafe. BTW, you can order a bank draft online and have it delivered to our cafe for pickup or delivered to your home. Simple, easy. Thank you again for your kind words about ING Direct.
    Peter Aceto – President & CEO, ING DIRECT

  • I switched to ING after my bank (Suntrust) announced they would charge fees for checking accounts. My paycheck is direct deposited. If I need cash, I can withdraw it from an ATM with the All Point sticker. If I need to deposit a check or cash, I can mail it or remotely deposit the check. P2P payments are super convenient for sending money to David.

    The thing that keeps me with them is what you mentioned though. #1 They’re super active on Twitter. Yesterday I had an issue with a P2P pickup email being sent to me instead of David, and they responded to my tweet within 13 minutes. #2 When you call customer service, A REAL PERSON ANSWERS! That’s unheard of, even with our local branches. And they’re super chipper. I just love ING!

  • Say WHAT?! Wow. Very impressed. I was invited to the ING cafe when I was still blogging and never had an opportunity to take them up on it.
    Peter – props to you for being the coolest CEO ever.
    I’m travelling in the spring and am strongly considering getting a new chequing account with a no-fee like ING, since I couldn’t stomach the idea of my $15/mth fees while I’m not even using the service (I’m with TD and was only willing to pay it because of all the automatic investments I had it hooked up to).
    I think the ING cafe deserves a visit this weekend :)

    • Definitely check it out! Maybe we can go together sometime next weekend? If you’re not going home for Thanksgiving, that is :)

  • When we moved to Denver I had to move from Bank of America, because there are no locations here. I made the choice of where we banked based off of location to our house and the fees or lack of fees that they charge. We also have an ING online savings account and I love them. I have given thought to moving our checking there as well.

  • wow i use ING but I have never been to that cafe that looks amazing!! I just want to go hang out there! LOL there are a few different locations in my city where you can use at ATM without paying fees and one is on my way to work so its not out of my way or anything. Im sure there are a million locations in toronto that support ING cards!

  • “It also doesn’t hurt that ING DIRECT does an incredible job of reaching out to people through social media.”

    You can say that again! This is the first time that I’ve ever seen a Pres and CEO of a big financial institution comment so quickly in a blog. Who knows, CAIT, one day you might get hired by ING Direct to head up their world wide online social media operations! (hint hint nudge nudge) :-)

    Actually the business case for bricks and mortar branch banking is giving way more and more to online banking, just as the large publishing companies are discovering the increasing revenue streams of ereading over hard copy reading.

    • Haha, my mom texted me that same sentiment re: getting hired one day – too funny. But the outreach was definitely appreciated. And I agree that digital technology is quite obviously leading the way in many industries.

  • I’m with Coast Capital now and I frickin’ love it. It’s so true, I’ve never had such awesome customer service, love the free debit and easy transfers to other Coast Capital people, and ya, they are just great. But with the possibility that me and my BF may also move to Toronto in the near future, I am sad to think that I won’t be able to stay with them. But I do also have a few accounts with ING and I like them as well, and ya they are really all up in their social media strategies, good on them!

    • I’ll be sure to write a follow-up post and let you know how it’s going! I’m happy to switch to them but am still sad about putting my Coast Capital card elsewhere in my wallet. With that being said, I opened my ING accounts with my CC accounts, so the two are linked. I’m going to keep my CC account open, in case I need to do any banking when I’m at home visiting. So, maybe I’m getting the best of both worlds. :)

  • I bank with ING for savings. I know they now have a Thrive Chequing account, but they lack in locations.

    I have my Chequing account with PC Financial. Banking is free and I can make withdrawals and deposits at any CIBC ABM for free. They also offef unlimited free banking and cheques. I love it! I’ve been with PC for almost 7 years and have no complaints.

    • I’ve heard good things about PC and do like that they are attached to CIBC. Another reason I chose to bank with ING is because my accounts are also attached to my Coast Capital accounts in BC; should I ever need to do business in BC and/or transfer money between the two accounts, it’s already setup for me – easy peasy!

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