Capital One To Continue Its Commitment To The Community

Capital One and Discover executives share a discussion panel and share their similar approaches to community investments at the Discover Shine Bright Community Center in Chatham on Tuesday, May 7. PHOTO BY JAMES GUYTON/RUDD RESOURCES.
Capital One and Discover executives share a discussion panel and share their similar approaches to community investments at the Discover Shine Bright Community Center in Chatham on Tuesday, May 7. PHOTO BY JAMES GUYTON/RUDD RESOURCES.

Capital One To Continue Its Commitment To The Community

By Tia Carol Jones

In February, Capital One announced plans to acquire Discover. Locally, community stakeholders had questions about what the acquisition would mean for the Discover Customer Care Center in Chatham. Recently, leaders from Capital One met with local elected officials and community stakeholders for listening sessions to hear concerns and answer questions they had about the acquisition.

Capital One acknowledged that the Discover Customer Care Center is housed in the former site of a Target that closed. They wanted to provide the community and the stakeholders with an assurance that they plan to keep the center open once the acquisition is complete.

“We wanted to make sure that anxiety was reduced, right out of the gate, in a way that made it clear that we’re retaining the call center, that we are going to continue to honor the commitment to recruit 1,000 individuals to that location,” said Andy Navarrete, Executive Vice President, Head of External Affairs at Capital One.

From those listening sessions, the first thing they heard was an appreciation that Capital One would retain the call center. They also talked about how the financial institution would serve the community, including affordable housing and getting more Capital One products and services to community members.

Capital One is committed to keeping the Discover brand and its name. Capital One has three cafes in the city of Chicago. Each one has a network of community partners and investments that are part of Capital One’s philanthropic work.

Shena Ashley, Vice President of Community Impact & Investments at Capital One, said the company has had longstanding partnerships with different community organizations. Capital One’s philanthropy nationally is done through the Impact Initiative, which made a $200 million commitment for five years to invest in communities around pillars that include financial health, workforce development, affordable housing, and small business development. Through their work, Capital One has been investing in community organizations, with a focus on organizations on the South and West sides of the city.

“A big hallmark of the way we’ve always done philanthropy at Capital One, is through deep relationships with community partners and knowing that one level is the giving of the money, but money is just one of the ways we invest in organizations, through pro bono and volunteerism, we’re really building up capacity of organizations,” Ashley said.

Ashely added that Impact Initiative is also helping those organizations build up their data capacity, which can help them scale up to the next level. The philanthropic arm of the financial institution also is doing research to understand the challenges, issues and best practices.

Capital One also shows up in the community through its Affordable Housing portfolio. It is the largest community development lender in the country. When it comes to education, Capital One is supporting organizations that are providing education around coding.

Staff across the country and locally who are knowledgeable in data and technology have volunteered their time at local schools to teach students how to code and how to build websites. Another team also goes into schools to provide financial literacy and stock market training. Dave Kucera, Chicago Market President for Capital One, said Capital One has a lot of interest in supporting communities in many different ways.

Capital One hosted a series of events at the Capital One Café in Hyde Park to provide assistance to students and parents going through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process, in partnership with National College Attainment Network (NCAN).

When it comes to the acquisition, Capital One wants deep and long-lasting relationships with its consumers.

The ability to continue to grow in a way that includes those who might not have a strong credit history is something they feel is important as it helps people in the community. It enables those people to build a strong credit history which is essential in creating financial well-being.

Discover is an opportunity for Capital One to diversify its business by adding a network. Capital One is the largest digital bank, with a physical presence, and it is the only bank that eliminated overdraft fees. With this acquisition, Capital One is hoping to accelerate the growth of the number of checking accounts and build a stronger checking account business, which Navarrete said is pro-consumer.

The next step in the acquisition process is to get the deal approved. Because of the size and notoriety of both financial institutions, the hope is that the deal will get approved by the first quarter of 2025.

For more information about Capital One, visit www.capitalone.com.

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