ING Direct's Man on a Mission

No fees. No frills. Arkadi Kuhlmann has shown the world how to do online banking right. Now the trick is to stay ahead of the imitators

Chris Mueller / Redux for TIME

Arkadi Kuhlman, Chairman, President and CEO of ING DIRECT USA bank, standing on his motorcycle (Harley-Davidson) in the lobby of their headquarters in Wilmington, DE.

Arkadi Kuhlmann is annoyed by banks. He thinks that it's ridiculous for customers to pay so many fees. That it isn't too much to ask for a real person to pick up the phone when you call the 800 number. That you shouldn't have to jump through hoops to keep your personal information from being sold to other companies. But unlike your typical bellyacher, Kuhlmann is able to change things, since he's running a bank--one the rest of the industry is scrambling to copy.

ING Direct was always meant to be different. Ten years ago, the Dutch financial-services conglomerate ING went...

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