Capital One Financial ( COF) shares were falling in after-hours trading, after it swung to a first-quarter net loss driven by increased cushioning against mounting consumer credit losses. The McLean, Va., credit and banking company posted a net loss from continuing operations of $86.9 million, or 39 cents, vs. $6.32.6 million, or $1.70 a share in the first quarter last year. The results improved sequentially from the fourth quarter, when the company lost $1.40 billion, or $3.67 a share. Total revenue declined to $2.88 billion, from $3.87 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected a loss of 8 cents a share on revenue of $4.17 billion. Shares were falling 11.6% to $13.30 in recent after-hours trading. "While our first-quarter results reflected significant pressures from the worsening economy, our balance sheet remained a source of strength," Chairman and CEO Richard Fairbank said in a written statement. "We continued to build our allowance, increase coverage ratios, and manage our capital levels well in excess of regulatory requirements."
Capital One added $124.1 million to its allowance for loan losses, saying it expects higher charge-offs this year. The company's net charge-offs as a percentage of total assets jumped to 4.41%, from 3.07% a year ago and $4.21% in the fourth quarter. The first-quarter figure does not include loans picked up in its acquisition of Chevy Chase Bank. Capital One's U.S. Card charge-off rate increased to 8.4% in the first quarter, up from 8.1% it said it expected earlier. The company said it expects the U.S. Card monthly charge-off rate to exceed 10% "in the next couple of months." The nonperforming asset rate jumped to 1.91%, from 0.62% a year ago and 1.39% in the fourth quarter. Capital One, rivals American Express ( AXP) and Discover Financial ( DFS) and banks like JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Bank of America ( BAC) are expected to be among the 13 companies represented by executives at a White House summit Friday with President Barack Obama about lending practices.