Capital One Bows Out After a Decade
Published: Friday, February 21, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 21, 2014 03:02
The university’s relationship with Capital One Bank will dissolve after 10 years, with the financial institution’s Leavey Center branch scheduled to close May 21.
A new bank partner, chosen by a committee composed of Georgetown students and faculty at the beginning of April, will replace Capital One on July 1.
Capital One’s contract with the university was set to expire in June, and in preparation, Georgetown offered eight banks, including Capital One, a chance to apply to put a branch on campus. Three banks applied for the partnership, but Capital One did not reapply to renew its position on campus, according to university spokeswoman Stacy Kerr.
Amanda Landers from the Corporate Communications division at Capital One said that the bank decided to end its partnership with Georgetown after much deliberation.
“Capital One is continually evaluating our business to ensure we operate as efficiently and effectively as possible while continuing to provide high-quality products and services to our customers,” Landers wrote in an email. “Through the course of these evaluations, in some instances, decisions are made to open, renovate, close or relocate branches. … This was a difficult decision to no longer operate on the campus of Georgetown University and one that our bank leaders did not take lightly. Our relationship with the university has been very positive over the last decade.”
Kerr also characterized the university’s relationship with Capital One as positive over the past 10 years.
“We of course respect their business decision not to reapply and appreciate their service to our Georgetown community,” she said. “We’ve been very happy with them and they were invited to resubmit, but they just elected not to. We’re not ending our relationship on bad terms in any way.”
A committee of representatives from the Georgetown University Student Association, Financial Affairs, the Division of Student Affairs, the Athletics Department and University Auxiliary Services will examine the three applicants, who will remain confidential until the beginning of April when the committee renders a decision. Assistant Vice President for Financial Operations Lennie Carter serves as committee chair.
According to Kerr, this committee is looking for specific qualities in banking partners to create the best relationship.
“Georgetown is exploring new banking partners who will both contribute to our academic mission and will meet the needs of our students, faculty and staff in the changing and increasingly mobile banking environment,” Kerr wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We are also looking for a partner who will support the university in important areas including financial literacy programs, scholarships, mission-driven programming and internships.”
PNC Bank Vice President of Corporate Communications Roger Wallace said the bank was interested in partnering with Georgetown and confirmed the submission of an application to the committee. PNC Bank already partners with Georgetown through GOCards, which can double as PNC debit cards.
“No decision has been made yet, but we certainly would like to be the bank for Georgetown,” Wallace said. “We like to be engaged with great universities. PNC has a university banking program where we service other universities and colleges in our footprint across the country, so this is something we like to do, we do well and we think that it would be a good fit.”
Wallace added that there are benefits to helping students start bank accounts.
“It’s good for business, number one, because you’re able to get clients when they’re first starting out in life, basically,” Wallace said.
Around 500 Georgetown employees use Capital One to bank, but the number of enrolled students is confidential. Students and faculty that currently have Capital One bank accounts will not lose any student benefits they received when creating their account, but will have to visit off-campus locations. The nearest location is at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Q Street.
Leah Metoudi (COL ’17) signed up for a Capital One account when she arrived on campus last fall. Despite the branch’s closing, she said she would continue to use the bank.
“It’s pretty inconvenient, but I’m probably going to stay with Capital One just because I don’t want to have to create a new bank account,” Metoudi said. “I know that I can still use the GUASFCU machines to withdraw money, it’s just a bit inconvenient because there’s an additional cost when not using Capital One machines. It’s just an inconvenience.”
Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union CEO Chris Kelly (COL ’14) said that he hopes that the closing of the branch will encourage more students to bank with the credit union.
“I’d much rather have them open up accounts and not be [charged fees] at all than have to be [charged] to use the ATM,” Kelly said.
He added that GUASFCU will attempt to attract students in the coming months to sign up, instead of banking with the new partner.
“We’ve been here for 31 years and we expect to be here for another 31 years as well, so the hope is that students know that we’re here for them and we’re here for the long term,” Kelly said. “Everything we do is very much student-centric, between our hours and our products rolled out. It’s really been our focus the entire time and that’s not changing anytime soon.”