Influence Explored: Capital One opens its wallet for HSBC, Congress
Bloomberg reported yesterday that U.S. based bank Capital One will purchase UK-based HSBC’s U.S. credit card arm for a reported $2.4 billion.
HSBC originally acquired the credit card unit now being sold in its 2003 acquisition of Household International, known primarily as a sub-prime lender.
Both HSBC and Capital One do business in the the sub-prime market with both loans and credit cards, and both companies took losses in the housing meltdown and financial crisis in 2007 and 2008.
All of these companies spent money in the last ten years to influence policy around banks and lending. Here’s a sample of where their money went:
- Capital One spent $698,013 on campaign contributions in the last election cycle, 72% of which went to Republicans. They spent $3.36 million lobbying many of the bills related to financial regulation in the last session of Congress, including Wall Street reform, the Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009, and various bills designed to help homeowners in default.
- In 2007 and 2008 – the early stages of the recent economic crisis – Capital One spent $2.3 million lobbying on various bills that attempted to regulate sub-prime lending, such as the Expanding Housing Opportunities Through Education and Counseling Act of 2007.
- HSBC North America spent $351,305 on campaign contributions in 2009-10, 54% of which went to Republicans.
- HSBC Holdings, the parent company of HSBC North America, spent $6.5 million on lobbying in 2009-10. The financial company lobbied many of the same bills as Capitol One as well as other bills effecting consumer banking, such as the Consumer Overdraft Protection Fair Practices Act.
- Household International, prior to its acquisition by HSBC in 2003, made $1.48 million in campaign contributions and spent $3.5 million on lobbying. Lobbyist disclosures that show Household International as a client don’t mention any specific bills, but list bankruptcy as one of their main legislative concerns.
‘Influence Explored’ takes an article from the day’s headlines and exposes the influential ways of entities mentioned in the article. Names and corporations are run through Sunlight’s influence tracking tools such as Influence Explorer and Transparency Data to remind readers of the money that powers Washington.