Richard D. Fairbank and Nigel W. Morris have plenty to boast about, considering Capital One Financial Corp.'s successful spinoff from Signet Banking Corp. But a fair amount of what's on their minds these days concerns copycat competitors.

The Capital One executives traveled to New York recently to brief analysts on what the future holds for the Falls Church, Va.-based credit card specialist. In an interview, however, their thoughts returned again and again to competitors with "deep pockets" who are "sailing without a rudder" by saturating the market with low-rate balance transfer offers.

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