Capital One Bank, Lynn Pike is grappling with the credit crunch like everyone else. But she also has a much more elemental question to address: can two recently acquired banks with wildly divergent geographies and cultures find happiness together under the organizational umbrella of a highly analytical credit-card giant?

It's more than a fleeting question. In one corner stands the old North Fork Bancorp, a New York business bank acquired in 2006 that was run largely by the wit and wile of former Chairman John Kanas; in the other is 2005 acquiree Hibernia, the leading consumer bank in New Orleans that also boasts a strong Texas presence. Above it all is Capital One, a $151 billion-asset card company known for slicing and dicing the numbers like scientists in a lab.

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