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Help for Consumers Considering Bankruptcy

November 24, 2003 at 1:17 PM EST

Personal Bankruptcy is on the Rise in U.S. and the Latest Tools from Capital

One and Consumer Action Help Consumers Understand the Complexities and

                             Navigate the Options

MCLEAN, Va., Nov. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- With continued high unemployment rates, a slow economy and increasing household debt, the number of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. continues to rise each year (835,080 in the first six months of 2003). To address this need, Consumer Action and Capital One partnered to develop a tool to help consumers decide whether filing bankruptcy is the right decision for them. The guide, Your Right to a Financial Fresh Start, offers detailed information about the pros and cons of bankruptcy, discusses the legal process, and supplies additional informational resources for consumers.

"The goal of the Consumer Action/Capital One partnership is to increase financial literacy," said Ken McEldowney of Consumer Action. "Your Right to a Financial Fresh Start helps consumers facing bankruptcy by walking them through the basics of bankruptcy and providing a checklist of questions they should be asking themselves before they consider declaring bankruptcy."

    The Basics of Bankruptcy:

     -- A federal court process that can help consumers erase many of their
        financial obligations or establish a plan to repay them.
     -- Certain debts cannot be eliminated by bankruptcy (for example child
        support, alimony, and student loans) so it is important to understand
        what debts do and don't disappear.
     -- Bankruptcy is a last resort as it can have a long-term negative impact
        on one's ability to obtain credit, find a job, get insurance or rent a
        place to live.

"Filing for bankruptcy can help consumers who find themselves in real financial trouble to get a fresh start. However, many people don't realize the long-term impact it can have on their lives," said Diana Don, Director of Financial Education at Capital One. "Bankruptcy stays on a person's credit report for up to ten years, which can affect one's ability to get new credit, a job or even rent an apartment, Your Right to a Financial Fresh Start is designed to guide consumers through the complexities and help them fully understand -- and hopefully avoid -- this serious measure."

Your Right to a Financial Fresh Start is a part of the "Money Wi$e" series, a national financial literacy partnership between Capital One and Consumer Action. It is the first program of its kind to combine free, multilingual financial education materials with community training and seminars to give consumers at all income levels both the information and the practical assistance they need to make smart financial choices.

Consumers can get a FREE copy of Your Right to a Financial Fresh Start in English by visiting In addition to English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese versions are also available BY SENDING A SELF-ADDRESSED LEGAL-SIZE ENVELOPE WITH $0.60 POSTAGE TO: CONSUMER ACTION BANKRUPTCY, 717 MARKET ST., SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103. Please specify which language version is desired.

About Capital One

Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE: COF) is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer consumer lending products. Capital One, a Fortune 500 company, is one of the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 500 index.

About Consumer Action

Consumer Action is a non-profit, membership-based organization founded in San Francisco in 1971. Consumer Action serves consumers nationwide by advancing consumer rights, referring consumers to complaint-handling agencies and publishing multilingual educational materials. Consumer Action also advocates for consumers in the media and before lawmakers and annually conducts comparison surveys for consumers on credit cards, banking issues and telecommunications issues.

SOURCE Capital One Financial Corporation

CONTACT: Libby Holman for Capital One Financial Corporation,
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