Hablando de ING Direct, acabo de leer una interesante entrevista que le hacian a Michel Tilmant, su presidente, en el New York Times el 3 de junio. Allí se comenta que el banco, que desembarcó en el competitivo mercado USA en el año 2000, quiere mantenerse simple en cuanto a las operaciones que ofrece y que va a estar focalizado en los ahorros y las hipotecas, sin intentar hacer más venta cruzada. Dice que los que no entienden su modelo de negcoio están aun anclados en la mentalidad de las sucursales.
Pongo algunos extractos de la entrevista en el NYT (negritas mias):
Like Its Logo, Dutch Bank Stays Simple
Q. Many banks in the United States are emulating the ING Direct strategy of offering high-interest savings accounts online. What does the increasing competition mean to you?
A. I guess when you have a good formula, a lot of people try to emulate you. When other people develop this concept, it enlarges the market, because it provides access to more people, so from that standpoint it's good. We are not surprised to see increasing competition. But I think we have a lot of experience; we started a few years ago. I think we have the skills required to perform this kind of business and to remain competitive.
Q. Does the question simply become one of pricing, of being able to offer the highest return?
A. In every country where we are, we have competitors offering higher rates than we offer. But you've got to be very careful, because, you know, consumers are smart. We have a product offering that has no commissions, no minimum, no tricks. Does the competition offer any tricks, like ties to something else that you have to do to be there, or a minimum balance, or a minimum usage? We have to be better than the next most comparable alternative.
For us, cross-sell is not what we want to do, because we want to keep it simple. We know that out there, the largest pool of earnings in the retail banking world comes from savings and mortgage — those are the only two things that we want to do. If you try to cross-sell too many products, you confuse the clients about what you are and your costs escalate exponentially.
Q. I can't recall anyone in banking coming out against cross-selling.
A. Well, it's unorthodox, yes, because when you talk about banking, you think about branch networks. And branch networks add a cost that can only be justified by cross-selling. But we have chosen another distribution alternative, which is much more cost-efficient but also requires that we focus on what we try to do.
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