ING Direct is a virtual bank; it has no physical existence in the sense of branches, as most other financial institutions do.

Originating in Holland, it has used the slogan- La, ou votre argent est heureux or, "There, where your money is happy."

When the British trading house Berings went under because of a billion dollars or two in illegal trades by a trader whose name escapes me at the moment, ING bought it.

Although I originally opposed the idea of foreign banks taking up residence in Canada, I have come to like this one. I have had a savings account with them since October, and have made almost $12 in interest. This may not seem like much, but when my conventional money multiplyer account at CIBC generates fees at least that high every month, with interest in the $.50 range. . .well, you get the idea.

ING has just offered me an unsecured loan at less than 9%, which is less than the card with which I bought my computer, easily, and even less than the rate on my VISA. I access my money at regular bank machines, on the phone, or online.

Maybe, this is the future, I'm not sure, and maybe my money is happy there; I know I am.