by Heather B. Hayes
A lot of companies are quietly weathering the recession, but not many are hiring. McLean-based Capital One Financial Corp. plans to add 1,000 employees in 2011, including 700 in Henrico County, where it will launch a new operations center and call center.
Once hiring is completed, Capital One will employ 10,400 workers in Virginia, mostly in Northern Virginia and the Richmond area. Capital One spokeswoman Julie Rakes says the new hires will work in a number of areas, including operations, customer service, marketing, IT and analysis.
The operations and call center will be located in two recently purchased buildings in Henrico’s Innsbrook Corporate Center. Kim Scheeler, president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, says the expansion will be a shot in the arm for not just the job market but the commercial real estate industry as well.
“They could have chosen to put the expansion anywhere, but I think it’s a testament to the management team they have in place here and the high-quality work force that they chose to stay in their home state,” he says.
The hiring announcement follows the company’s recent rebranding of Washington-area stalwart Chevy Chase Bank as Capital One Bank. Capital One acquired Chevy Chase in late 2008.
Capital One, known nationally as a credit-card company, has acquired three banks in the past five years. It now is the third largest bank in the country, with a presence in Louisiana, Texas and the New York City and Washington metro areas. Capital One Bank has 1,000 branches, including 88 in Virginia.
David West, senior vice president for Davenport & Co. LLC, a Richmond-based investment advisory firm, believes that the verdict is still out on whether Capital One’s foray into banking will be a long-term success. But he thinks that the transition already has provided a stabilizing funding mix to the company’s more risk-laden portfolio of credit cards and installment loans.
“They’ve had their challenges over the past few years like everyone else, but they have apparently seen the peak in losses in credit cards, and automobile finance has already shown signs of growth,” he says. “So they seem to have come through the storm in very good shape and appear to now be readying their staff and infrastructure in anticipation of a more aggressive marketing strategy.”