Me & My Money: Arkadi Kuhlmann

Wed Jun 5, 2013 8:00am EDT
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By Deborah L Cohen

CHICAGO, June 5 (Reuters) - Long-time banking innovator Arkadi Kuhlmann likes to take control of his own money. That's hardly surprising for an executive who introduced consumers to direct, branchless banking as the founder of ING Direct Canada in 1996.

Kuhlmann expanded to the United States four years later, with ING Direct USA (now CapitalOne 360 ). It became the country's largest savings bank and No. 1 direct bank, with more than $84 billion in deposits and 7.8 million customers.

Kuhlmann, now in his 60s and residing in Delaware, is about to launch a new startup bank, ZenBanx Inc, whose slogan is "around the corner, around the world." It will be the sixth bank he has founded over the course of his career, which he started as a business professor shortly after graduating from the University of Western Ontario.

Reuters caught up with him at C2-MTL, a leadership entrepreneurship conference in Montreal in May, to talk about how he deals with his own finances.

Q: Were you interested in money as a kid growing up in Toronto?

A: I wasn't interested in finance at all. I was interested in nature - geography, geology, that kind of stuff. My mother was in finance. She was an accountant, a finance person, and she was sort of my signpost.