COURTESY FRIENDS OF HOKULE'A AND HAWAI'ILOA
A handcrafted canoe will become part of the ocean-themed decor when the ING DIRECT Cafe opens in November in Waikiki. The cafe is part of ING DIRECT's online bank.
ING DIRECT preps for isle debut
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When it opens in Waikiki some time this November, the ING DIRECT Cafe will feature a handcrafted canoe on loan from the Friends of Hokule'a and Hawai'iloa.
The national online bank, which conducts all banking business either online, on the phone or by mail, strives to be different in many ways.
So besides a full-service cafe, ING DIRECT also will offer Internet kiosks, lattes, lunch and pastries in the former Local Motion store at 1958 Kalakaua Ave.
Espresso drinks will be available from the Hawaiian Coffee Co., as well as baked goods from Panya Bakery and Hokulani Bakery.
The ING DIRECT Cafe is expected to serve as both a financial information center and a social gathering place. Bankers also will serve as baristas.
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It's an online bank, an Internet cafe and a display space for a handcrafted koa canoe from the Friends of Hokule'a and Hawaii'iloa.
Welcome to ING DIRECT Cafe of Delaware, which is set to open its first Hawaii location on the ground floor of the former Local Motion Waikiki space on Kalakaua Avenue this November.
In a new approach to banking, ING DIRECT offers online bank services through a cafe that also serves as a financial information center and social gathering place.
Besides Internet kiosks, ING DIRECT Cafe in Waikiki will be offering drinks from Hawaiian Coffee Co., lunch and pastries from Panya Bakery and Hokulani Bakery, as well as financial seminars. Its hours will be from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. seven days a week.
The space was occupied for several years by the Local Motion surf shop, which at one time also had a cafe upstairs, which was later replaced by Brew Moon.
Business at ING DIRECT is done online, by phone and mail, saving the company from high overhead and operational costs, which it says is passed on to the consumer.
Besides Electric Orange, a paperless checking account, the bank also offers an Orange Savings Account with no fees or minimums, and an Orange Mortgage, with low closing costs.
ING DIRECT Cafe will be hiring between 15 to 25 staff, who will be well-versed in its banking products as well as capable of making an espresso. ING DIRECT's motto is: "We believe saving money should be as simple as having a cup of coffee."
ING DIRECT is backed by ING, a global financial institution of Dutch origin which offers banking, insurance and asset management. It is also a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
ING DIRECT makes an effort to tailor each cafe to its surrounding environment. The one in Waikiki will have a definitive ocean theme.
Cleo Brown, ING DIRECT's head of Hawaii operations, said she was determined to break from the traditional flower and turtle scheme, opting instead to go with something that reflected the true beauty of Hawaii.
The Friends of Hokule'a and Hawai'iloa, a nonprofit dedicated to perpetuating the art of the ancient Hawaiian canoe, is loaning the canoe to ING DIRECT, and also will host an educational program at the cafe.
Besides the cafe, ING DIRECT also plans to market itself and reach out to the community with a 40-foot mobile cafe that will travel around Oahu.
ING DIRECT CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann said the ING DIRECT destination in Waikiki will provide a gathering place for residents and tourists, where they can gather, participate and learn how to improve their financial well-being.
The whole idea of a cafe started in ING DIRECT's earlier days, when Kuhlmann first welcomed curious customers into the virtual bank's office lobby for coffee soon after it was launched in Canada. Several days later, the cafes became a part of the bank.
The ING DIRECT cafe is the bank's seventh location, in addition to others in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City, St. Cloud, Minn. and Wilmington, Del.
ING DIRECT claims to be the nation's largest direct bank and third-largest thrift, with $79 billion in assets from more than 7.1 million U.S. customers since its inception in 2000. In Hawaii, ING DIRECT has more than 20,000 customers.