OCC Re-Opens Comments on Capital One Purchase of HSBC Unit

U.S. regulators will give the public more time to comment on Capital One Financial Corp. (COF)’s proposed purchase of HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA)’s U.S. credit-card business after consumer and housing advocates opposed the deal.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is re-opening the comment period, taking responses through Dec. 19, the watchdog said today on its website. McLean, Virginia-based Capital One said in August it would pay a $2.6 billion premium to acquire about $30 billion in assets including HSBC’s private label, or store-branded, card business.

The OCC extension marks the second time banking regulators have allowed more time for responses to Capital One acquisitions after consumer and housing advocates raised concerns. In August, the Federal Reserve re-opened the comment period and instituted three hearings to review Capital One’s proposed purchase of online bank ING Direct USA.

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, which represents community and housing groups, sent a letter to the OCC earlier this month opposing the HSBC acquisition. The group asked the agency to extend the comment period and hold hearings. A similar letter sent to the Fed preceded that agency’s decision to re-open the comment period on the ING deal.

‘Numerous Benefits’

Capital One, led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Fairbank, 61, is expanding as other banks cut back. Earlier this month, South Dakota officials including Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard said the company would keep 400 HSBC jobs in the state and hire another 400, according to a statement. Capital One has also said it will hire 500 employees in ING’s home state of Delaware.

“We appreciate the OCC providing an additional opportunity for any interested parties to express their views,” said Tatiana Stead, a Capital One spokeswoman, in an e-mail. “Our history clearly demonstrates that our customers and local communities will see numerous benefits from this acquisition.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Dakin Campbell in San Francisco at dcampbell27@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net; Lawrence Roberts at lroberts13@bloomberg.net.

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