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Capital One

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Capital One is a diversified bank that offers a broad array of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. A Fortune 500 company, Capital One has one of the most widely recognized brands in America. As oneRichard D. Fairbank is founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Capital One® Financial Corporation. Capital One, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. Mr. Fairbank founded Capital One in 1988 based on his belief that the power of information, technology, testing and great people could be combined to bring highly customized financial products directly to consumers. Since then, Capital One has emerged as one of the America's largest consumer franchises with approximately 45 million customer accounts and one of the nation's most recognized brands. As one of the nation’s top 10 largest banks based on deposits, Capital One, N.A. and Chevy Chase Bank, F.S.B. have approximately 1,000 branch locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
Question 1: Identify and describe the key environmental forces that have immediate strategic implications for Capital One. Capital One has become a strong leader in the financial world since its start as a public credit card company in 1994 through with strategic growth and diversification. I feel the key environmental forces that will have immediate strategic implications for Capital One are its opportunities and threats. Capital One seized the opportunity to grow domestically as well as internationally. Domestically, Capital One was able to diversify by branching out in to areas such as branching out in other areas of the banking industry. Hitt, Ireland, and Hoskisson, (2009) reported this about Capital One, “it provides a gamut of financial services through its main subsidiaries-Capital One Bank, Capital One F.S.B., (which offers consumer and commercial lending and consumer deposit products), and Capital One Auto Finance Inc. (COAF)”. (p. 65). In addition, Capital went international with the acquisition of Hfs Group. Capital One is not without threats though because with a large portion of its business in the credit card business. Capital One has a segment that they lend to sub-prime lenders, which is a huge risk. I feel in our current economic state where the economy has fallen since this case was written proves my concern for the sub-prime lending. Currently, the unemployment rate has sky-rocketed, which I'm sure has increased the number of people that have defaulted on their credit card payments or even filed bankruptcy. This sub-prime market is a huge gamble for Capital One.
Question 2: Identify and describe the capabilities and weaknesses within Capital One that has immediate strategic implications. One of Capital Ones internal weaknesses is its annual expenditures on advertising fees in comparison to the company’s major competitors. In 2004 Capital One spent $285 million and then another $5.4 million on advertisements that 30% of a poll taken didn’t even care for while 12% liked it a lot, many professionals gave the opinion that much of the profits have been consumed by marketing ((Hitt, M., Ireland, D., Hoskinsson, R. 2009. pg. 70). Capital Ones large collection of sub prime customers also shows itself as a weakness. During the recession of 2001 - 2004 and new laws coming to light concerning the declaration of personal bankruptcy Capital One decided to stop depending on sub prime customers as they are more likely to declare bankruptcy or default on payments. The tightening of controls combined with the cut back of dependency on sub par customers caused Capital One to suffer a smaller profit margin, raising interest rates, and a 40% drop in its shares (Hitt, M., et. al. 2009. pg. 71). Capital Ones internal capabilities consist of it’s on the mark acquisitions and technology. The pricing strategy used relies on its Information Based Strategy (IBS). According to Wikinvest (2010): Capital Ones acquisitions also prove to be on time with their strategy, enabling them to break into new markets, countries with companies that support the ideas they already have rolling out. They have bought companies in the UK such as Hibernia, Auto dealership financer like Onyx in California, and Amerifree who is in the orthodontist industry in the states. The CEO of Capital One, Fairbank, all of the acquisitions are a natural extension of the diversification strategy they have been pursuing for some time, stating the strengths of each company complement each other (Hitt, M., et. al. 2009. pg. 71). I feel that Capital One capabilities lie largely in Capital One diversity in the banking industry. In addition, I feel that Capital One use of the credit score rating, which supports the Information-Based Strategy (IBS) which allows Capital One to judge credit card applicants and charge interest according to their level of risk is a great capability to evaluate its borrowers. I think it has assisted Capital One in keeping a low charge-off rate. (Hitt, et. al., 2009). I feel that this system has also, attributed to Capital One’s weakness. By lending to sub-prime or higher risk customers this is a huge risk for Capital One. I feel that the current economy does not support.
Question 3: Define Capital One’s business-level and corporate-level strategies and evaluate each for their potential for continued success. Capital One’s business-level strategy is demonstrated in its auto industry. COAF combined with ONYX Acceptance Corporation (ONYX) was a complementary strategic alliance where each entity’s resources came together to create a competitive advantage for Capital One’s auto industry. Capital One’s corporate-level strategy is demonstrated by its large portfolio of different products it has acquired. By Capital One moving from just a credit card issuer to a true banking competitor enabled it to be able to fund its own growth internally.

Question 4: Evaluate the strategic fit of Capital One’s recent acquisitions. North Fork Bancorp is the most recent acquisition with Capital One. The move has given the firm a higher level of diversification that is needed in the credit card industry. In 2005, Capital One made three acquisitions ONYX Acceptance Corporation, eSmartloans, and Hibernia National Bank. Capital One Strives to diversify their portfolio. The firm uses moderate related diversification strategy to combine their resources to run their businesses. The purchase of Onyx helps strengthen their relationship with dealerships. The only issue is the automobile industry is currently very weak. There are many dealerships that have closed due to the recession. Capital One’s most recent acquisition was of the Washington, D.C. metro area bank. Chevy Chase Bank. With this acquisition, I feel is a good strategic fit since Capital One is headquartered in the DC area, in McLean, VA. As reported on the Chevy Chase website the following information: We are striving to make the integration of Capital One Bank and Chevy Chase Bank as convenient and rewarding as possible for you. As one of the top 10 banks in the country, with nearly 1,000 branches and over 2,000 ATMs in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Louisiana and Texas, we look forward to bringing you even greater convenience, service and value in the future. (ChevyChase.com)
I feel that this move will only lend to strengthen Capital One as a true banking institute.
Question 5: Describe the key strategic issues raised by the company’s acquisition strategy. A strategic issue raised by the company’s acquisition strategy was its ability to keep pace and fund all its businesses accordingly. This was a huge motivator for Capital One to move into acquiring traditional brick and mortar banks. This would allow Capital One to fund its endeavors at a cheaper rate than through its internet baking that was more costly.
Question 6: Assess Capital One’s international position. Capital Ones international position seems to only exist in the UK and Canada though once it held offices in Spain, France and South Africa but had decided to pull out as progress wasn’t being seen according to the text (Hitt, M., et. al. 2009. pg. 65). Michael Hitt and gang tell us that “Capital One is the United Kingdoms seventh largest credit card issuer, and among the top ten of the same in Canada” (Hitt, M., et. al. 2009. pg. 66). Hitt, et al., (2009) reported the following concerning Capital One’s international position, “acquired a home equity brokerage company in the United Kingdom, the Hfs Group, to strengthen its Global Financial services (GFS) subsidiary in the British market”. (p. 65). I feel that like all other acquisitions Capital One has made smart calculated and strategic moves that have helped it to climb to the top of the banking industry.

References:

Hitt, M. A., Ireland, R. D., & Hoskisson, R. E. (2009). BUS 499: Strategic management: Competitiveness and globalization, concepts and cases: 2009 custom edition (8th ed.). Mason: OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

No author. n.d. Acquisition new. Online. Retrieved March 9, 2010, from http://www.chevychasebank.com/about/news/acquisition-news.html#1_1…...

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