Capital One Said to Buy Walmart Card Portfolio, Zero In on Digital Collaboration

Capital One Financial has reportedly acquired Walmart’s card receivables, the bank’s chairman and CEO, Richard Fairbank, said yesterday.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

After touting the bank’s card partnership with Walmart, Fairbank said during Cap One’s fourth-quarterter earnings call Tuesday that the bank has entered into a “definitive agreement” with Walmart to acquire the co-branded, private-label credit card receivables. He said the deal includes $9 billion of receivables.

But plans for collaboration between the bank and mega-retailer do not appear as though they will end at cards.

“Pulling up, we’re eager to work with Walmart to leverage payments innovation, digital capabilities and data, and analytics to deepen relationships, drive digital adoption and create exceptional customer experience,” he said.

Asked later about the bank’s and Walmart’s philosophical approach to the partnership, Fairbank said the first word he would put out there is “digital.”

He said the partnership is “right at the vortex of the growth opportunity” that Walmart has put at the top of its “entire strategic priority.” He said the retailer is transforming itself “not only technologically, but, particularly, to be a really big player in the online retailing space.”

“Technology is going to be incredibly important, driving digital activation and activity, and there’s, I think, quite a bit of market aspiration,” Fairbank continued. “If you look, actually, at Walmart’s customer base, there is a lot of that market — people there and a lot of opportunity. Now the key is to turn that opportunity into real digital buying power and that’s what Walmart is focused on and I think we’re going to be there to help on that.”

Spend today, save tomorrow?

Fairbank said Capital One posted “solid results” overall in the fourth quarter of 2018, “as we invest to grow and drive our digital transformation.” He also credited much of the bank’s progress in finding efficiency across the business to its investment in technology.

“We continue to build an enduringly great franchise with the scale, brand capabilities and infrastructure to succeed as the digital revolution transforms our industry and our society,” Fairbank said. “Our digital and technology transformation is accelerating and it’s powering our ability to grow new customer relationships and deepen engagement with new and existing customers.”

Capital One’s non-interest expenses for the fourth quarter of 2018 were up $388 million, or 18%, year-over-year to almost $2.5 billion. CFO Scott Blackley on the earnings call said the increase was “primarily driven by higher marketing.” Fairbank later said the marketing investment is “driving strong growth” in new accounts and purchase volume.

Meanwhile, the stock price fell after missing revenue expectations.

Learn more about digital innovation and strategies at Bank Innovation Ignite 2019. The event will take place March 11-12 at Seattle’s Hyatt Olive 8 Hotel. Register here.

  Like This Post