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LETTER: Credit card merger about survival

In response to your Monday editorial: The primary reason Capital One is pursuing Discover has nothing to do with product offerings or access to transaction networks. Credit-card write-offs are increasing at both banks. Capital One customers have lower credit scores so merging with the healthier rival might fend-off insolvency a little longer.

Also, after the combined company eventually does fail, Capital One will be better positioned to claim “too-big-to-fail” status when seeking a bailout.

That said, regulators should approve the merger, but only with caveat that no bailout will be forthcoming if the company then fails. In that scenario, Discover shareholders might become less willing to take on the added risk, and the merger will fail for the right reasons, instead of being scuttled by government fiat.

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