If You're an ING Customer, What Now?

ING Direct has been ordered by its homeland Dutch government to cut loose its US operations as a prerequisite to getting government aid. The potential divestiture leaves millions of ING customers with questions about the fate of their deposits and mortgages.

ING Direct, one of the first banks in the country to offer online banking only, has been ordered by its homeland Dutch government to cut loose its US operations as a prerequisite to getting government aid. Best known for its high-yield Orange savings accounts, ING Direct also offers checking accounts, CDs, and mortgages, as well as brokerage services through ShareBuilder. The potential divestiture leaves the millions of ING customers with questions about the fate of their deposits and mortgages.

Depositors don’t need to fret yet, according to banking analysts, since the order to divest the banking operations won’t take effect for a few years. Even then, any potential buyer is likely to hang on to the simple, no-fee, high-yield account features that have made ING Direct so popular. Mortgage holders, on the other hand, should keep their mortgage statements, which they will need to match them up with the terms and the balances on any statement they get from any new mortgage holder.

Although the average consumer may not think of ING in connection with 401(k) plans, it’s one of the nation’s largest defined-contribution plan providers, with seven million plan participants and more than $235 billion in assets under management. If your 401(k) plan is managed by ING, however, there’s not much you can do if it’s acquired by a new company. Whether your investment choices are better or worse, you’re effectively stuck with whatever 401(k) provider your employer chooses.