Arkadi has built a career on transforming financial services to serve ordinary people. Arkadi is CEO of ZenBanx and was previously Chairman and CEO of ING Direct, a radical concept in banking that helped Main Street customers save their money. He created the first ING Direct in Canada in 1997, and the United States in 2000, and grew their enterprise value to $3.2 billion and $9.3 billion, respectively.
Prior to this, Arkadi served as President of North American Trust and as CEO of Deak International, then a global leader in foreign exchange. Arkadi is an educator, an advocate of financial education, a speaker on finance and culture driven leadership, and is the author of two books on the latter.
Arkadi described the genesis of ING Direct’s revolution in banking as a shift from supply-driven financial services, with banks dictating how things are done based on what’s easiest for them, to demand-driven, where consumer needs and preferences determine services. ING Direct was famously willing to “break up” with some customers who needed more support than the low-fee, basic services model ING Direct offered – a testament, he says, to understanding the consumer they set out to target and sticking to that consumer’s needs. ING Direct was a sea-change innovation born inside a large parent company, The ING Group; Arkadi advised innovators in similar situations to be willing to turn down help from the larger organization when it doesn’t fit the innovative idea (for ING Direct, that meant resisting an IT system that would have added unnecessary features) and to maintain a company culture that fits the innovative product (in his case, bare-bones headquarters in line with the simplified model ING Direct provides).