The Federal Reserve Board said Friday it will hold three public hearings on Capital One Financial Corp.'s proposed $9 billion purchase of online bank ING Direct USA.
After the market's close, the Fed released details of the meetings, which will be held on Sept. 20, Sept. 27 and Oct. 5, in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Ill., and San Francisco, Calif., respectively. The Fed also agreed to extend the public comment period on the deal until Oct. 12.
Lawmakers, including Rep. Barney Frank, the lead Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, had asked the Fed to extend its examination by holding public hearings and tacking on an at least an additional 60 days to receive further comments. The original comment period expired Aug. 22.
The Fed's open meetings are intended to weigh whether the benefits to the public as a result of the deal — either by increasing competition or offering greater convenience — could potentially outweigh adverse effects, such as conflicts of interest or unsound banking practices as required under law.
The Fed will also evaluate the financial and managerial resources of Capital One as part of its review.
The deal has sparked some push back from community groups and affordable housing advocates who argue that the deal would create another too-big-to-fail financial institution.
In an emailed statement, Capital One spokeswoman Tatiana Stead said the company believes the benefits of this deal will be significant to its customers as well as the economy.
Seeking to address concerns previously raised by others, Capital One said it will remain a "traditional bank with only 1.5% of deposits nationwide and none of the complexity that the Dodd-Frank reform bill addressed in ending too-big-to-fail."
"In each of our prior bank acquisitions, we have substantially increased our investments that serve lower income communities, providing $2.2 billion over and above those predecessor banks in their footprints," Stead said. "The record includes scores of letters of support from community groups attesting to this fact. Furthermore, we are actually adding thousands of jobs to economy at a time when many financial services companies are announcing sizable reductions."
During the hearings, testimony will be presented to a panel. All requests to testify must be made in advance to the Fed.