Friday, February 18, 2005

Better Banking Means More than Orange: It Means Better Relationships and Better Communities

Katherine Stone shares some excellent ideas about The Banking Experience at Decent Marketing.

Her thoughts concerning ING's approach to retail banking are also thoughtful and interesting.

A commentor pointed to a Fast Company article on ING, and I found myself smiling. Would You Like a Mortgage With Your Mocha? describes the corporate headquarters of ING pretty well.

Instead of building its own office tower, it has chosen to invest in reinvigorating the area around Wilmington's run-down train station. This summer, part of the company will move into a renovated Pennsylvania Railroad building wedged between the train station and the Christina River. ING Direct has been working with the city to connect its new building to the station by closing a street and erecting a glass atrium full of shops, restaurants, and an ING Direct Café. The company is also advocating a redo of the train station itself.

The article is from a couple of years ago, and the headquarters has been built.

I used to walk past their buildings at least once a week or so, to get to a riverfront produce market (and lunch area), before I left Wilmington a month ago. I'm not an ING customer, but I love this company for what they've done to make this small section of town a bright vibrant place.

Take an area that's run down, and needs a little tender-loving-care and personal attention. Build on the strengths of that area, and find the human side of the relationship and strive to make it better. Show the bright and optimistic side of things.

That's what they did to the section of Wilmington, Delaware, that they entered. And it sounds like that's what they are trying to do to banking, too.

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