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Sept 24, 2013

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Capital One Should Discover Merger Dead As Montana Astroturf For July 19 Public Meeting

by Matthew R. Lee

SOUTH BRONX, June 24 – Capital One has applied to buy Discover, in an anticompetitive deal that should be rejected by regulators if they mean what they have been saying. While they applied late March 20, as of 1 pm on March 22 there was no notice of the Federal Reserve's or OCC's websites. Inner City Press submitted second FOIA requests to each agency. Public hearings should be held, not only on antitrust but also lending disparities at both companies. 

 On April 24 the Fed extended its comment period to May 31 - without (yet?) granting public hearings, nor providing the FOIA documents.

  Yet on June 12, this: "(Reuters) - CAPITAL ONE EXEC SAYS IN CONVERSATION WITH U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE AND OFFICE OF COMPTROLLER OF CURRENCY ON DISCOVER DEAL." In conversation? With no documents provided to the opposed public? Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch registered for the public meeting, in opposition.

On May 14 - still without providing FOIA documents - the Fed and OCC set a July 19 virtual public meeting. And already, pro merger lobbying had begun, for example here by a group previously identified in a Trenton NJ political quid pro quo scandal.

 Then an SC Astroturf piece, then going green.

Next a former NH Commissioner, and a "former Democratic campaign strategist in Southern Nevada." Unreal.  Then Montana. We'll have more on this.

  The OCC first put its application in its reading room. And it is an outrage, Capital One gaming the CRA system. For example "the Proposed Transaction would result in CONA establishing a new assessment area in  Delaware, which will include all census tracts in Sussex County and seven contiguous census  tracts in Kent County."

That for a nationwide card and subprime auto lender...

 As documented by Fair Finance Watch, Discover Bank in 2022 denied mortgage loans application from African Americans more than twice as frequently as those of whites. 

  Previously, Inner City Press and NCRC challenged Capital One's acquisition of ING Direct, see here.This time, given the antitrust enforcement claims being made in DC, this proposal should be dead in the water. Watch this site. 


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