According to reports from Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, London-based HSBC had expressed intentions to focus its operations on UK consumer banking and on catering to affluent global travelers. Capital One has offered to take over HSBC's American credit card operations. Assuming the deal closes, Capital One stands to gain a portfolio of $30 billion in credit card accounts representing the entire spectrum of consumer lending.
What happens to individual accounts
At this early stage in the commitment, neither bank has released details about what will happen to individual accounts included in HSBC's diverse portfolio. HSBC currently issues credit cards on all four major American payment platforms: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Capital One, however, issues only Visa and MasterCard accounts and has positioned many of its rewards credit cards directly against offerings from Discover and AmEx. Both banks handle numerous private label credit cards for retailers such as Kohl's, Best Buy, and Neiman Marcus.
Neither bank has addressed speculation about what may happen to HSBC's credit cards for limited credit, offered under the Household Bank and Orchard Bank brands. Capital One offers similar secured credit cards under its core brand, often offering customers the opportunity to graduate from one credit tier to another over time.
A busy season for credit card business
The sale caps off a season of major mergers and reorganizations for both banks. While HSBC was busy selling off its North American bank branches to regional consumer banks, Capital One closed a deal to purchase the U.S. holdings of ING Direct. Mandated by European banking regulators, the ING deal allowed Capital One to expand its online savings and mortgage businesses.
At the time, WSJ reporter Shira Ovide cited industry analysts who speculated that the ING deal would give Capital One the extra cash necessary to pursue another credit card issuer. Representatives from both credit card issuers told reporters that customers could expect no changes until the sale closes in 2012.
The original article can be found at CardRatings.com:Capital One to add HSBC, Orchard credit cards to its wallet