Online banking outfit ING Direct, which may soon become part of Capital One, opens a new non-branch today at Post and Kearny. Instead of tellers and deposit slips, they’ve got free wi-fi, comfy chairs, and a coffee bar serving Peet’s Coffee, pastries, cold sandwiches, and salads all from local vendors. “We’re a bit like Southwest Airlines. We don’t take this banking thing too serious [sic],” CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann tells the Chron, and this is the ninth such café location that ING Direct has opened across the country. The idea is to help people set up accounts, and get them more comfortable with the idea of an online-only bank by plying them with carbs and caffeine.
Also, weirdly, they’re billing this as a “community center” too, where people can “connect and hang out.” There are conference rooms downstairs with iPad-operated AV equipment which can accommodate up to 50 people and can be reserved for free.
Next thing you know they’ll have a bar with artisanal cocktails — oh, but drinking and banking is never a good idea (and neither is drinking and walking).
ING Direct Opens 1st Branch in SF, a Café [Net Worth/Chron]