Capital One Financial Corp.'s fourth-quarter profit fell almost 42% from year earlier to $407 million, as the bank's expenses surged.

The McLean, Va., company on Thursday reported a quarterly profit of 88 cents per share, or 68 cents below what analysts on average had expected, according to Thomson Reuters. But the bank's full-year profit for 2011 rose 15% from 2010 to $3.1 billion.

Capital One's fourth-quarter noninterest expenses jumped 25% from a year earlier, to $2.6 billion, due to a seasonal rise in marketing expenses and increased operating expenses. The additional operating expenses included roughly $90 million in litigation expenses and about $40 million in asset write-downs and other costs.

Loan balances were up almost 4.6% from the third quarter, totaling $135.9 billion, driven by growth in domestic cards, commercial banking and auto finance.

The company said it expects to close its acquisition of ING Direct in the first quarter and its deal for HSBC's U.S. credit card portfolio in the second quarter.

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