In the customer’s shoes
Marjolijn de Haas: Trainee Retail Banking, since 1 May 2015
Marjolijn spent the past few months working at the ING branch in Amstelveen and has now started in the Concept Development department. She will be sharing an update of her latest experiences every couple of weeks.
Want to get better insights of how customers perceive ING? Try walking in their shoes; then you will see what it’s like. Lately I’ve experienced ‘the other side’ at firsthand: my boyfriend and I bought a house and were looking for a best-fit mortgage.
Yes, our own house! We have been living in Rotterdam for almost ten years now and we love it here. It’s a food heaven, with so many nice neighbourhoods, surrounded by water and impressive architecture. We’ve been living together for three years in a rental apartment nearby the Markthal, with a wonderful view of the city’s skyline. Nevertheless, before I went to Frankfurt for my second STA, we decided to start saving money to buy a house (our savings goal in the Mobile Banking app was literally named ‘Buy a house’). We had our mind set on one specific street, located in the city center with a bit of a ‘village vibe’. Being so focused we knew that it could take a while before we would find what we were looking for, but we weren’t in a rush. Then a fixer-upper came for sale in the desired street and we had our first viewing. The apartment was disappointing, but we met a great real estate agent instead. The best thing we did at that point was to hire him as our buying agent, while immediately warning him it would take some time ‘because we are very picky’. Surprisingly it didn’t take that long after all, our brand new agent told us there would be a house for sale in the specific street and we could have a viewing before it was on the market. Take a guess: it was the house of our dreams. Again a fixer-upper with four bedrooms, dated before WWII – which is quite unusual in Rotterdam – not ruined by thoughtless renovations, really amazing! After two viewings and a sound advice from my brother who is an engineer specialised in restorations we took the plunge.
When you are buying a house, you are confronted with quite a lot at once. Luckily we had been looking into the mortgage before, both financially as in terms of feeling. We’ve had meetings with multiple banks and intermediaries, so it was easy to make comparisons. Although I am prejudiced, without a doubt my boyfriend agreed on mortgaging with ING. The interest rates were appealing, as well as online access to our construction loan, interest adjustments when the debt-marketvalue ratio changes (at every 5%), and insights in our mortgage through internetbanking, where it’s transparant how much you can pay-off penalty-free each year. On forehand we had all this information, so when the time came we lined up very fast.
We got the mortgage at the inspiring ING office in Amstelveen. It’s so much fun to walk around as a customer over there. The floormanager welcomed us, we met many former colleagues and even our robot Ginger dropped by to say hello! During the meeting with our mortgage advisor we got the chance to talk things through thoroughly. Although I am digital savvy and a former Digi-coach, I have to admit how much I liked talking to an actual human on a lifechanging topic like this. We did our research, but when push comes to shove you just want to be able to ask questions to an advisor. I liked the fact that our advisor treated us as clients, and explained everything clearly. I might be working at ING, but a mortgage is a very complex product that involves complicated regulations. There is a huge amount of knowledge needed to give the right advice. We could totally trust Guido on this matter!
The application process went smoothly, we received an offer well before the deadline mentioned in the provisionary agreement. Then we could finally crack the champagne: we are going to buy a house! Last week we signed the offer. We could have done it digitally, but we really wanted to do this in the office as well. Looking back on the last months, I can conclude I like to rely on people in complex situations, instead of finding my way in the online world. This is an interesting given in the light of my work at the Concept Development department (see last blog).
In August we will receive the keys. Then we are going to renovate our house and restore all the pretty old details. We are now looking for contractors, getting inspired for a new kitchen and my big hobby: sweeping Marktplaats for second hand goods. The first decision we had to make was choosing a mortgage, but we have to make many decisions still. It is about to get real now...