Fed Reschedules Meeting on Capital One’s ING Direct Deal

The Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors said it rescheduled a meeting to discuss Capital One Financial Corp.’s proposed acquisition of ING Direct USA, moving it to Feb. 13 from today.

“We understand that the delay is due to a scheduling conflict, and we look forward to their decision early next week,” Tatiana Stead, a spokeswoman for the McLean, Virginia-based lender, said in an e-mailed statement.

Richard Fairbank, Capital One’s chief executive officer, said in a presentation that the deal remains on track to close in the first quarter. The acquisition would be finalized a “few days” after Fed approval, Fairbank said today at a conference in Miami sponsored by Credit Suisse Group AG.

“ING is a very low-cost way for Capital One to become a national player” in retail banking, Fairbank said. The purchase is “a bit of a game changer,” he said.

Housing and consumer-rights advocates including the National Community Reinvestment Coalition have opposed the ING deal, saying it will create another “too-big-to-fail” institution. Public opposition led the Fed to hold three hearings to review the deal.

Advocates hope the delay is an indication the central bank “is taking additional time to ensure the public understands how this deal will impact them,” John Taylor, president & CEO of NCRC, said in an e-mailed statement. “This delay is yet the latest sign of the seriousness with which the Federal Reserve is observing its duties to protect the American taxpayer.”

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