Major online bank setting up first Hawaii outpost
A unique online banking institution that features an Internet caf as one of its signature services is opening its first Hawaii outlet this fall at the former Local Motion building in Waikiki.
ING Direct, which has Internet cafs in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Cloud., Minn., Los Angeles and Wilmington, Del., also plans to operate a 40-foot mobile caf that will service the neighbor islands.
The Delaware-based bank, which has $80 billion in assets, will operate a full-service caf, retail shop and call center and plans to hire 20 workers locally, including Cleo Brown, a veteran financial executive who will head the Hawaii operations.
ING Direct is part of the Dutch financial institution, ING Group, which recorded $117 billion in revenue last year.
Even without a brick-and-mortar office, ING Direct said, it already has more than 20,000 customers in the islands.
"They've got a core group who already knows about ING, and they like what they see, so they figured it was time to have a real presence here," said Dawn Webster, a company spokeswoman. ING Direct has grown to more than 6.5 million customers nationwide since it opened in 2000.
"Hawaii was home for many years and the warmth and culture of the people of Hawaii have remained in my heart," Arkadi Kuhlmann, ING Direct chief executive officer, said in a statement.
The Waikiki branch at 1958 Kalakaua Ave. will feature a ground-floor caf where customers can drink coffee while learning about the company's deposit and loan products and "provide a friendly gathering place where residents and tourists will gather, participate and learn how to improve their financial well-being," Kuhlmann said.