America's Top 20 Bank Holding Companies

Capital One Financial Corporation

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has ranked Capital One Financial Corporation thirteenth out of the top fifty banks, in order of total assets. As of March 2012 Capital One had $294,573,731, placing it just behind State Street Corporation.

Compared to many of the other top banks in the United States, Capital One is quite young. Richard Fairbank and Nigel Morris began Capital One in 1988. The bank was officially incorporated in July 1994. Originally solely a credit card provider and pioneer in the credit card industry, the company is now quite diverse as a retail banker, auto loan lender and, up until the sub-prime mortgage crisis, operated a home loan division.

They first entered retail banking when they acquired Hibernia National Bank in 2005 and North Fork Bancorporation in 2006. In 1996 they entered the Canadian market, which only deals in the credit card industry. In late 2008 Capital One purchased Chevy Chase Bank. The move from being a simply a creditor to a full service bank helped them survive the recession since they were no longer simply creditors but had other services to offer and profit from.

Due to pressure by investors, the company got rid of GreenPoint Mortgage, their mortgage division, in 2007. The following year they received $3.56 billion from the government, taken as a preferred stock purchase. Just seven months later, in June of 2009, they were able to repay the U.S.Treasury and repurchase their stock.

Capital One Financial Corporation owns Texas based Capital One Auto Finance which is the largest auto financing lender on the internet. Loan refinances and new loans are processed within fifteen minutes of the customer filling out an online application.

In June 2011, Capital One announced plans to buy internet based ING Direct which will greatly expand its customer base and make it the fifth-largest bank in terms of deposits.

Aside from the United States and Canada, Capital One is active in the United Kingdom with headquarters in London. Previously, they had locations in South Africa, Italy, France and Spain.

From its founding, Capital One Financial Corporation headquarters have been in their offices in Tyson's Corner, Virginia (near Richmond). Locally, it employs nearly 8000 of its 28,000 employees. Toronto is home to their main Canadian office and its European headquarters are in England.

Since Capital One was created as a break off of Signet Banking Corp, it simply stayed near it's original location and hasn't opened any major offices in major financial centers like New York City. They are the top employer, in terms of numbers, for the area which greatly impacts the local economy.