US Capital One incurs charges, reports 42 percent profit fall

By Margarita Snegireva. The largest independent U.S. bank card issuer Capital One reported a 42 percent fall in fourth-quarter profit as credit card losses rose and it incurred charges related to a shut-down of its subprime mortgage unit.

The McLean, Virginia, company also said its loan portfolio and revenue growth would slow to "low single digits" this year, reflecting a weaker environment.

Capital One Financial Corp. is a McLean, Virginia-based bank holding company specializing in credit cards, home loans, auto loans, banking, and savings products. Founded in 1988 by Richard Fairbank and Nigel Morris, the firm was a pioneer of the mass marketing of credit cards in the early 1990s and is now the fourth largest customer of the United States Postal Service.

Capital One entered the retail banking market with its acquisition of New Orleans, Louisiana-based Hibernia National Bank in 2005 and Melville, New York-based North Fork Bank in 2006. The banks have been renamed as "Capital One Bank".

Capital One responded to the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis by jettisoning its mortgage platform, GreenPoint Mortgage, due in part to investor pressures.

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