Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 11, 2013 02:34 PM
In a bid to redefine the financial journey, ING U.S. has announced that it will be rebranding as Voya Financial.
While the announcement was made Thursday, ING U.S. does not plan on incorporating the new name or logo until 2014, as it awaits the completion of its IPO.
ING Group, the company's Dutch parent, announced last year that it was planning to spin off its US arm through an initial public offering—where Voya will register as the company's stock ticker. The divestiture of the US part of the business along with a ING Direct and a Dutch mortgage lender had to take place in order to get approval for a 2008 bailout.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 18, 2013 04:38 PM
It’s hard to believe that American Express is celebrating its 163rd birthday today, as the iconic brand continues a spry and active presence, pushing boundaries in social media while as fresh and enduring as those half its age. Case in point: its #163candles hashtag on Twitter today.
Just last month, the blue chip brand teamed with that whippersnapper on a social commerce experience that turns Twitter hashtags into purchases. The sync and tweet with #hashtags lets users buy $25 American Express Gift Cards and products from Amazon, Sony, Urban Zen and Xbox 360.
"Based on the initial success of Amex Sync for offers, we know there is significant power in combining our assets with Twitter's platform to bring value to Cardmembers and merchants," said Leslie Berland, SVP Digital Partnerships and Development. "Now, we're leveraging our unique technology and closed-loop network to introduce a seamless solution that redefines what's possible in the world of social commerce."Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 13, 2013 12:16 PM
H&R Block urged those who had filed taxes with other preparers over the last few years to bring in their returns for a free “Second Look” to try and find mistakes other places may have made and bring their customers more dough. It turns out the company may want to use the service itself.
The Kansas City-based company is now offering up apologies because up to 600,000 of the tax forms it filed in February could be delayed up to six weeks due to a filing mistake made by H&R Block associates.Continue reading...
follow the money
Posted by Shirley Brady on January 10, 2013 05:02 PM
Along with adjusted net income of $1.2 billion, American Express delivered a surprise in its fourth quarter earnings report today: the elimination of 5,400 jobs as part of a global reorganization of its business units, with over $400 million in severance and its business travel unit taking a big hit.
The company has endured more than a decade of downsizing under CEO Ken Chenault: 7,700 jobs in 2001; 6,500 jobs in 2002; 7,000 jobs (10% of its workforce) in 2008; 4,000 jobs in 2009. This round of cuts, as Wall Street Journal reports, represents "its biggest retrenchment in a decade," and will shed 8.5% of its workforce.
“Against the backdrop of an uneven economic recovery, these restructuring initiatives are designed to make American Express more nimble, more efficient and more effective in using our resources to drive growth,” said Chenault. “For the next two years, our aim is to hold annual operating expense increases to less than 3 percent. The overall restructuring program will put us in a better position as we seek to deliver strong results for shareholders and to maintain marketing and promotion investments at about 9 percent of revenues.”
More details on the restructuring and impact on the company — which just launched a #foraliving recruitment campaign on Twitter and YouTube — from its press release:Continue reading...
follow the money
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 9, 2013 10:07 AM
Banks are always crowing about how they aren’t going to have fees for this or that, but somehow, over time, the monthly bank statement comes and there are a load of fees on there. And most of them are worded in such a way that the consumer has absolutely no idea what they are for.
Australian Josh Reich has certainly felt the bewilderment. “Banks make money by keeping customers confused,” Reich told the New York Times. “There’s no incentives to make the experience better.”
So what did Reich do? He partnered with a pal, Shamir Karkal, and started an online bank, Simple, a “worry-free alternative to traditional banking” that doesn't charge any fees.
Formerly known as BankSimple, the Portland, Ore.-based startup which has now processed more than $200 million in transactions, offers its 20,000 customers data-rich analysis of expenditures as well.Continue reading...
follow the money
Posted by Barry Silverstein on January 8, 2013 10:01 AM
The flurry of mobile banking ads lately is no accident. Just like every other business, banks have figured out that consumers are on the go — and connected — all the time. Banks are already scrambling to get their piece of the mobile payments market, and now mobile banking apps are the latest new thing.
A slew of campaigns are featuring the ease of mobile banking, with banks such as Barclays expanding mobile. Bank of America says, "Life is mobile. So is your bank." Chase calls mobile banking, "The power of Chase in the palm of your hand."
But Capital One, instead of pitching the mobile app itself, is focusing on the convenience factor for the consumer.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 21, 2012 10:01 AM
Unable to find a fit with a partner in an industry where technology has outstripped its traditional role, NYSE Euronext — headquartered in Wall Street's New York Stock Exchange building — has agreed to an $8.2-billion acquisition by an Atlanta-based commodity-trading outfit, InterContinental Exchange (ICE).
The deal would create a derivatives giant, as Reuters noted. It also gives a 12-year-old startup control of the most iconic symbol of U.S. capitalism, with a two-century history of serving as the very hub of company-building. While the exchange still features traders squawking in bright-colored jackets to make orders, digital technology and the rise of private trading venues have made it less and less relevant.
NYSE, which refreshed its branding earlier this year, handles only about 20 percent of equities traded in the United States on a given day, an expert told the U.K.'s Guardian, down from a peak of 60 percent to 70 percent.Continue reading...
social media watch
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 19, 2012 04:08 PM
Should brand fans be able to own a piece of their beloved brands, without any middlemen taking a cut? That's the premise of Loyal3, which offers consumers a Customer Stock Ownership Plan (CSOP) where small amounts of stock can be bought directly from publicly traded companies via Facebook or a website. E.F. Hutton, are you listening?
The pitch, on their website: “LOYAL3 is built on the simple and yet profound principle that people care more about things they own than things they don’t. We offer a revolutionary web and social media platform that enables public companies to sell their stock directly to customers from their Facebook page or website in just 3 clicks, creating more loyal customers.”
As Reuters notes, users can invest from $10 to a maximum of $2,500 per company per month. By leveraging consumer devotion for companies planning to go public, Loyal3 acts as broker. "People love Target and Coke," says Barry Schneider, CEO of Loyal3. "Why aren't more of them owners of those brands?"Continue reading...