Capital One (COF) is trying to integrate two big purchases at a time when banking regulators are paying increasing attention to consumer finance operations. That scrutiny has raised the stakes for Capital One — but even without it, the bank has a lot to juggle as it integrates ING Direct and a $30 billion HSBC credit card portfolio.
"Bank integration is like remodeling your house. It takes twice as long and costs three times as much as you thought it was going to," says Susan Ochs, a former Treasury Department advisor and a senior fellow at the Aspen Institute. "It's a heavy lift for sure. By no guarantee is this going to be a smooth ride for them."