January 24, 2022

Global Manager: Managing a Company With a Helicopter Vision

Piyush Gupta is chief executive and director of DBS Group, a leading financial services group with headquarters in Singapore.

Q. Do you remember the first time you became a manager?

A. It was my first job, working for Citibank in Calcutta; I was 22. The Citi system was to start in the back office in operations as a manager of clerical staff, and for that first job I had a team of about 20 that supported me; their average age was about 50, which was older than my father at the time. Citibank’s culture is all about first names, but the Indian culture is to always show a lot of respect to your elders, and I really couldn’t address them by their first names, so I had to figure out how to suffix it. In Calcutta you use a suffix called “da” to show respect, so that is what I started doing, like “John-da.”

Q. What were some of the early lessons?

A. To earn the respect of a bunch of people that have been doing the same job for 25 years and know a lot when you are the new kid on the block, and their manager, you’ve got to listen. And I think it’s a good lesson to keep in mind for any leader: In any new position you come in to, you’ve got to listen. I call it my 100-day rule, where I spend the first 100 days listening and figuring it out. You learn about the history, the context of how they were doing things a certain way and why it all matters.

And in the part of the listening, you learn to appreciate people’s strengths because everybody has some. It’s a big part of gaining acceptance and credibility if you recognize what they have done, because people like to be acknowledged. Only after that can you begin to demonstrate that you know what you are doing and you work hard.

Q. What were some of the early mistakes you made?

A. One of the things it took me several years to realize is that in this drive to gaining acceptance and acceptability, you can overdo it. I used to spend time in coaching to help people to achieve what I thought they should be able to achieve, and part of that was about gaining acceptability, wanting to show people I really cared and made an effort. But over the years, I’ve come to realize it’s actually quite expensive. You wind up spending six to 12 months with somebody and you’re still unhappy because they haven’t got where you wanted them to be and you end up creating compromises.

Q. So what do you do?

A. You end up having to bite the bullet in the end, and that’s one of the main lessons I’ve learned in a leadership role. You have to bite the bullet sooner. Now I figure out that if I don’t have a 75 percent chance of having a person succeed and I only have a 50-50 chance, it’s unlikely to work and I’m better off helping that person find something they’d rather be doing and getting somebody who has a better likelihood to succeed.

Q. So you have to make some tough decisions about firing people?

A. Yes, and I’ve made my fair share. But you can do it nicely. I’ve never had anybody that I’ve laid off be unhappy with me. In most cases, I’ve helped them find something that I thought was more suitable for them. In some cases, I just told them it doesn’t work and explained why, but then give them some time to find another job, be it three months, or in one case it was one year. It can be tough love.

Q. How would you describe your management style?

A. It’s a bit of a cliché, the helicopter vision — zoom in, zoom out — but I actually do that quite well. I can think big picture, which I think is an important role, and I can also be very detailed. Sometimes people can be a bit worried because I know my stuff and I probe a lot.

Q. Does your management style depend on culture?

A. Asians in general expect a more paternalistic culture, partly because there are so many family-owned firms driven by a patriarch who is the head of the family that sets the direction. In an American culture, people expect you to give them a lot of room so they can get on with it. So one of the big culture issues we’ve faced at DBS is to move away from that top-down approach. I want people to be able to make their own decisions, and that’s not that easy to do.

Empowerment is an easy word, and in the Asian culture context it’s not so much about giving power but a lot more about accepting the power. One thing that is important is for people to understand that it’s O.K. to make a mistake. You learn by making mistakes — as long as you don’t make the same ones again and again. Once people start getting comfortable and realize they won’t get punished, they are willing to take on more risk.

Q. Can a corporate culture trump a social culture?

A. Absolutely! I saw it at Citibank. I can assure you that people here in Singapore at Citi are not shy about speaking up. So I do think you can create a corporate culture that trumps the Asian culture, but it requires work. It gets formed over many years by building little bricks about what behaviors are acceptable and what behaviors are not, and creating an environment that recognizes these good behaviors.

Q. What do you look for in your young leaders?

A. I have a “four I” framework.

Individual accountability. You should not pass the buck. Frankly, it’s quite easy to say, “I did my share and somebody else didn’t,” but true leaders really take accountability.

Initiative. I call it “outbox management.” People spend their time on the in-box, reacting to things coming to them, but true leaders have the knack of spending half of their time creating their own agenda. Don’t just be responsive to third-party agendas.

Innovation. You have to drive change, otherwise you stagnate. You must have some lateral thinking out of the box.

Inspiration. You have to be able to take people with you, from your shareholders and board to people working around you.

Q. What is your main strength when you look at those four points?

A. Tough question. You’ll have to ask others.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/business/global/02iht-manager02.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

DealBook: Ex-Partner at Dewey & LeBoeuf Says Citibank Hid Firm’s Financial Troubles

There has been no shortage of finger-pointing since the collapse of the law firm Dewey LeBoeuf, with most of the animus directed toward the firm’s managing partner and its broader leadership.

Now, an aggrieved former partner has taken aim at an unlikely target: Citibank.

In a recent court filing, the former partner, Steven P. Otillar, says Citibank conspired with Dewey’s management to hide the law firm’s true financial condition in the months before its collapse.

Mr. Otillar made the claim in response to a lawsuit brought against him by Citibank seeking repayment of a $210,000 loan. The bank lent Mr. Otillar the money to pay for his capital contribution to Dewey when he joined the partnership in August 2011. (New partners typically must make a financial contribution to a law firm when they join.)

The filing said that Citibank had extended Mr. Otillar the loan as part of a fraudulent scheme intended to benefit Citibank and Dewey’s management. By recruiting him and other partners to join the financially troubled firm in the months leading up to its demise — and collecting millions of dollars from them — Dewey’s partners enriched themselves and kept the firm afloat.

Mr. Otillar blames Citibank for his ill-fated career move, saying the bank had a legal obligation to disclose Dewey’s financial state. He said that he never would have joined Dewey and taken out a loan from the bank if he had an accurate picture of the firm’s condition.

A spokeswoman for Citibank declined to comment. The filing was earlier reported by Reuters.

Mr. Otillar’s claim echoes a lawsuit filed this year by Henry Bunsow, another former partner, that accused the firm’s leadership of running a Ponzi scheme that had used money contributed from the newly hired to pay existing partners and finance the imperiled firm. Like Mr. Otillar, Mr. Bunsow joined Dewey just months before it filed for bankruptcy.

The accusations made by Mr. Otillar and Mr. Bunsow are just a blip in the broader legal fallout from Dewey’s failure. Once one of country’s largest law firms, Dewey entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May after a debt-heavy balance sheet and poor financial performance forced it to slash partners’ pay, leading to a mass exodus.

In recent weeks, roughly half of Dewey’s former partners agreed to return about $70 million of their past compensation that will help pay the firm’s creditors, which are owed more than $300 million. By agreeing to this “clawback” settlement, these partners insulate themselves from future lawsuits related to the firm’s dissolution. A group of partners who did not sign on to the settlement have asked a judge to appoint an examiner to investigate the unwinding of the firm.

The Manhattan district attorney is also investigating whether there were any financial improprieties committed by Steven H. Davis, Dewey’s former chairman. Mr. Davis has denied any wrongdoing.

Mr. Otillar’s claim highlights a major cause of Dewey’s demise. The firm recruited Mr. Otillar in 2010 as part of an aggressive growth plan, one of several dozen lawyers lured to the firm with lavish multiyear pay guarantees. Mr. Otillar was part of a push to expand Dewey’s Houston office and, with it, its energy-industry practice.

Yet, as Dewey added Mr. Otillar and dozens of new partners to its ranks with guaranteed contracts, it had already piled up millions of dollars in back pay owed to existing partners. The firm, even after taking a hit during the financial crisis, also took on substantial debt to fuel its expansion plans.

Citibank was one of the banks that facilitated Dewey’s growth. It had a varied and lucrative relationship with the firm. Not only did it finance Dewey’s operations through a large line of credit, but it also lent money to newly hired partners to cover their capital contributions to the firm.

Mr. Otillar said that when Dewey recruited him from Baker McKenzie in 2010, he raised concerns about the firm’s finances. Management assured him that the firm was in growth mode and that he was joining at the perfect time, according to the court filing. And then after he came on board, he said, Dewey and Citibank pushed him to participate in the bank’s loan program so he could make his capital contribution as soon as possible.

Like virtually all of the more than 300 Dewey partners, Mr. Otillar has found a new home. Now a partner in the Houston office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld, Mr. Otillar declined to comment.

Article source: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/09/03/ex-partner-at-dewey-and-leboeuf-says-citibank-hid-firms-financial-troubles/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Manufacturing in China Grows Only Slightly in December

BEIJING — Big manufacturers in China narrowly avoided a contraction in December a survey showed Sunday, but downward risks persist and suggest that the Chinese economy will need fresh policy support to counter a slowdown in growth.

The official purchasing managers’ index, which is compiled by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing on behalf of the National Bureau of Statistics, rose to 50.3 in December from 49 in November.

That indicated a slight expansion in business activity in the vast Chinese factory sector, but the reading was barely above 50, which separates expansion from contraction.

The index fell below 50 in November for the first time since early 2009.

Analysts had expected the official purchasing index to be at 49.1 in December.

“The rebound in the December P.M.I. shows that there will be no big slowdown in the Chinese economy,” Zhang Liqun, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council, wrote in a statement accompanying the survey.

The economy faces downward pressure, but there are positive elements that could underpin growth, the researcher said.

The new orders subindex rose to 49.8 in December, from 47.8 in November, while the subindex for new export orders rose to 48.6 from 45.6 in November.

A similar survey Friday by HSBC and Markit, a British data provider, which captures data from smaller factories, moved up to 48.7 in December from a 32-month low of 47.7 in November.

But the private survey signaled a modest contraction in activity on the month.

Despite the rise in the official survey, it is stuck near its weakest levels since early 2009.

Economists at Citibank said China was more likely to take policy steps to combat what the bank saw as a tangible slowing of economic activity.

“Accumulating evidence of economic weakness would herald more policy easing in the months ahead, starting with another” required reserve ratio cut by the Chinese New Year, Citibank said in a note to clients.

“Although domestic consumption held up steadily, its contribution may have been more than offset by weakened investment activity and deteriorating foreign trade conditions,” the note said.

China’s central bank is in the spotlight, with many analysts expecting that it will soon announce a cut in the required reserve ratio that it demands commercial lenders hold.

The central bank cut the ratio by 0.5 percentage points on Nov. 30 from a record high of 21.5 percent.

Cutting the ratio frees up funds that could be used for lending to support growth, but China’s leaders remain wary of relaxing their grip too soon on inflation.

The official survey showed that a significant drop in price pressures in November did not follow through to December.

The prices subindex of the official purchasing managers’ index rose to 47.1 from 44.4 in November.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/02/business/global/02iht-yuan02.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Bucks Blog: A Credit and Debit Card: 2 Cards in One

Courtesy Fifth Third Bank

It’s one of those things that makes you wonder why it wasn’t available before. Fifth Third Bank has just introduced Duo, a piece of plastic that works as both a debit card and a credit card.

Fifth Third, based in Cincinnati, says that while various institutions have been testing the cards, it is the first to formally offer it to consumers. Research with its own customers suggested that there was a significant demand for the two-in-one cards, said Stephanie Honan, a spokeswoman for Fifth Third. Many customers use both type of cards — debit for smaller purchases, say, and credit for larger purchases they want to pay off over time. So, she said, customers like the idea of being able to choose credit or debit while carrying just one card.

Here’s how it works: First, you have to have a checking account at Fifth Third, since debit cards are linked to checking accounts. Then, if you want, you can apply for the Duo card, just as you would apply for any credit card.

When you go shopping, you decide how you want to use the card at checkout. After you swipe the card, the terminal prompts you to choose “credit” or “debit.” If you select debit, you type in your PIN, and the funds are withdrawn from your checking account.

If you choose credit, you sign for the purchase, and the cost of the item is charged to your line of credit.

As long as you choose credit, you can earn rewards points for your purchases.

(Unlike some multiuse cards that have been tested, however, Duo does not offer the option of paying directly with rewards points. Citibank has been testing such a credit card — called 2G, for second generation — and had been scheduled to make it widely available sometime this year. A bank spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for an update on its plans.)

While the Duo cards offer flexibility, you do have to pay attention. If you somehow make a mistake, and hit “debit” when you do not have enough funds in your checking account for the purchase, the item will be covered by overdraft protection — and you’ll pay an associated fee.

The move may also benefit banks in another way, says an analyst’s report from Barclays Capital. The report suggests the dual-use cards, which do not offer a signature debit option, represent a move by banks to encourage more use of credit, rather than signature debit, because signature debit transactions have been cited by the Federal Reserve as having higher fraud costs than the PIN version. “As a result, we believe that banks are beginning to explore steering customers toward credit card transactions in place of signature debit transactions,” the report from the analyst, Darrin Peller, said.

Does a dual credit and debit card make sense to you? Would you find such a card useful?

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=76e779c32cb74aaf34baf01f3671f03f

DealBook: Warner Music to Sell Itself to Access for $3.3 Billion

Singer Janelle Monae, who is on Warner Music’s Atlantic Records label.Charles Sykes/SYKEC, via Associated PressSinger Janelle Monae is on Warner Music’s Atlantic Records label.

12:49 p.m. | Updated

The Warner Music Group agreed on Friday to sell itself to the investment vehicle of the Russian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik for about $3.3 billion, including the assumption of debt, ending a sales process that lasted months for the music record company.

Under the terms of the deal, Mr. Blavatnik’s Access Industries will pay $8.25 a share for Warner Music. That is a 4.4 percent premium to the company’s Thursday closing price of $7.90, and about 34 percent higher than Warner Music’s average share price over the last six months.

Edgar Bronfman Jr., Warner Music’s chairman and chief executive, and the private equity firms THL Partners and Bain Capital, which together own 56 percent of Warner Music’s stock, have agreed to support the deal.

“We are delighted that Access will be the new steward of this outstanding business,” Mr. Bronfman said in a statement. “They are supportive of the company’s vision, growth strategy and artists, while bringing a fresh entrepreneurial perspective and expertise in technology and media.”

Shares in Warner Music have jumped 40 percent this year as investors eagerly anticipated a sale of the company.

The sale may eventually lead to more consolidation in the music industry.

Many analysts believe that Warner’s new owner will likely also bid on EMI, the fourth-largest music company, which is expected to go on the market soon.

EMI was seized by Citibank earlier this year after its owner, the British private equity firm Terra Firma, defaulted on a $5 billion loan. Combining Warner and EMI, analysts say, could eliminate hundreds of
millions of dollars in redundancies, making the investment profitable.

“The next step is that I would expect Access to look at buying part or all of EMI and making a larger record company, to consolidate the industry into three competitors rather than four,” said Laura Martin, an entertainment and media analyst with Needham Company. “That helps pricing power, and also helps business-model innovation go faster.”

Since putting itself up for sale in January, Warner Music had attracted dozens of potential buyers, from other music companies to billionaires seeking a trophy acquisition.

By this week, three suitors had emerged with strong prospects: Mr. Blavatnik; Tom and Alec Gores, brothers who run their own private equity shops; and Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which had been working with the billionaire Ronald O. Perelman and the investment firm Guggenheim Partners. The Gores brothers’ bid was $7.50 a share.

Of the bidders, Mr. Blavatnik had long been seen as the most likely winner. A former Warner Music board member, he has retained both close ties to top company officials like Mr. Bronfman and an equity stake.

“I am excited to extend my longstanding involvement with Warner Music,” Mr. Blavatnik said in a statement. “It is a great company with a strong heritage and home to many exceptional artists.”

Since immigrating to the United States in 1978, Mr. Blavatnik has become one of the world’s richest men through his varied investments, primarily in the industrial sector. Access owns stakes in companies including Warner Music; TNK-BNP, the Russian oil giant; and LyondellBasell, a chemical company that has rebounded from bankruptcy. (Mr. Blavatnik is fending off a lawsuit by that company’s creditors, who allege that his takeover of the chemical maker larded it with an unsustainable amount of debt.)

Other potential bidders complained during the sales process that they felt that the end result already seemed oriented toward a win by Mr. Blavatnik, people briefed on the matter said previously.

Yet Mr. Blavatnik will still have a challenge on his hands, as the recorded music industry continues its battle to stem declining sales. Digital music downloads have been rising, but not nearly enough to replace the revenue lost from falling CD sales.

He will also have to contend with Warner Music’s strained financials, including the company’s roughly $2 billion of debt.

The deal with Mr. Blavatnik is expected to close in the third quarter. He is expected to finance the purchase with cash on hand, as well as with financing provided by Credit Suisse and UBS.

Warner Music was advised by Goldman Sachs; AGM Partners, the advisory firm run by Alan Mnuchin; and the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton Garrison. Access was advised by Credit Suisse, UBS and the law firm Debevoise Plimpton.

Andrew Ross Sorkin contributed reporting.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=d91ed13d49ce26669475bfd8abf5767d

Slipstream: Data Privacy, Put to the Test

To the catalog of corporate “bigs” that worry a lot of us little people, add this: Big Data.

It was not a good week for those who guard their privacy. First, we learned that Apple and Google have been using our smartphones to collect location data. Then Sony acknowledged that its PlayStation network had been hacked — the latest in a string of troubling data breaches.

You’d have to be living off the grid not to realize that just about everything there is to know about you — what you buy, where you go — is worth something to someone. And the more we live online, the more companies learn about us.

But to what extent do others have a right to share and sell that information? That is the crux of a data-mining case that had arguments last Tuesday before the Supreme Court.

The case, Sorrell v. IMS Health, is ostensibly about medical privacy: Vermont passed a law in 2007 that lets each doctor decide whether pharmacies can, for marketing purposes, sell prescription records linking him or her by name to the kinds and amounts of drugs prescribed. State legislators passed the law after the Vermont Medical Society said that such marketing intruded on doctors and could exert too much influence on prescriptions.

But three health information firms, including IMS Health and Verispan, along with a pharmaceutical industry trade group, challenged the law, saying it restricted commercial free speech. Access to prescription records, IMS Health says, helps pharmaceutical companies market efficiently to doctors whose patients would most benefit from specific drugs.

Now the justices are to decide whether the Vermont law is constitutional.

But with the recent headlines about privacy invasion — the PlayStation hack followed a recent breach at the online marketing company Epsilon that exposed e-mail addresses of customers of Citibank, Walgreens, Target and other companies — the Vermont case is tapping into a much broader conversation about consumer protection and informed consent.

The case raises questions about who is collecting, managing, storing, sharing and selling all that data. Just as important, privacy advocates say, it raises questions about whether data brokers are adequately safeguarding it.

People generally don’t have much control over who collects and sells information about them. Moreover, says Christopher Calabrese, a legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, they also don’t even know the names of the data brokers who compile those electronic profiles.

And, so, consumer advocates are setting their sights on Big Data.

“Without government intervention, we may soon find the Internet has been transformed from a library and playground to a fishbowl,” Mr. Calabrese testified in March during a Senate hearing on consumer privacy, “and that we have unwittingly ceded core values of privacy and autonomy.”

There are a few laws, like the Video Privacy Protection Act, that prohibit businesses from releasing personally identifiable records, like video rental histories, without customer consent. The Digital Advertising Alliance, a coalition of online marketing groups, introduced a program last year that notifies consumers about online tracking and allows them to opt out of advertising tailored to them.

The Vermont law amounts to a kind of do-not-call option for doctors who may welcome visits from pharmaceutical sales reps but don’t want drug marketing based on their own prescription records.

That marketing practice is possible because pharmacies, which are required by law to collect detailed information about prescriptions they fill, can sell doctor-specific prescription records to data brokers. (According to federal privacy regulations, personal information about patients, like names and addresses, must be removed before the records can be sold for marketing.) Firms like IMS Health then combine the records, and pharmaceutical reps often use them to tailor presentations to individual doctors.

The central concern is privacy — of both doctors and their patients. While pharmacies remove the names of patients before selling the records, those names are replaced with unique codes that track patients over time from doctor to doctor, according to the Vermont complaint. That means data firms could create a profile that includes a person’s prescriptions as well as the names of the pharmacies and dates at which the person picked up the medications, says Latanya Sweeney, a visiting professor of computer science at Harvard.

“It ends up building a detailed prescription profile of individuals,” says Professor Sweeney, whose research on data re-identification was cited by several briefs in the case. “Those extended profiles tend to be very unique.”

The concern, she says, particularly in a small state like Vermont, is that a nameless prescription record could theoretically be enough to identify someone who might not want others to know that he takes, say, anti-depressants. Moreover, Professor Sweeney argues, data miners could collate those files with public information, like voter registration and hospital discharge records, to link prescriptions to specific people.

Federal health privacy regulation, she says, does not protect patient records once they have been de-identified. Nor does the law prohibit re-identification.

But IMS Health says it isn’t aware of any case of re-identifying patients whose prescription records were de-identified in accordance with federal rules. The company says it doubly encrypts each patient’s identity and gives the encryption keys to several third parties — meaning that no single entity can decode a file by itself, says Kimberly Gray, chief privacy officer at IMS Health.

The company typically sells combined reports that show how many patients received a certain drug from a certain doctor, but not the specific drugstores those patients frequent, Ms. Gray says. IMS never uses public information or outside data sets to try to re-identify patients, she says, and when it does provide encoded patient histories to others for research purposes, it prohibits those third parties from making such attempts.

“We would never want to re-identify someone,” Ms. Gray says. “No good can come from that.”

Still, it is hard to prevent people from trying to re-identify patients, says Lee Tien, a staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties group that filed a brief in support of Vermont. It would be easier, he says, if Congress passed a law that went further than Vermont’s, giving people the right to consent before their encrypted prescription records were sold for marketing purposes.

“In Vermont, the doctor can decide,” Mr. Tien says. “But we’d prefer it if the patient were able to say, ‘Don’t sell my data.’ ” 

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=a3d30a1287df0ba99b42dad68cd07ab7

Bucks: Secured Credit Cards: Not Everyone Qualifies

If your credit was ruined during the Great Recession, using a secured credit card may be a good way to help improve your standing.

That is, if you can get a secured card.

Not everyone may be immediately eligible, especially if you have a recent bankruptcy on your record. A reader who recently emerged from bankruptcy wrote to me after she and her husband were denied secured credit cards from Citibank. That, at least in my mind, raised several questions: Are all people emerging from bankruptcy unable to get a secured card? Are there other situations where you’re likely to be denied? And is the passage of time the only option for the millions of people whose credit has been ruined during the recession?

Secured credit cards appear to pose minimal risk to the card issuer. After all, the cardholder is required to put a certain amount of money into a bank account, say $250 or $500, which is used as collateral. And the available amount of credit is often equivalent to the amount on deposit. By using these cards strategically, a person with bad credit can speed up the recovery process by demonstrating positive behavior: charging only small amounts and paying off their balance each month.

“You need to dilute the negative information on your credit report, and there is no better way to do that than with a secured card,” said Odysseas Papadimitriou, chief executive of CardHub.com, a credit card comparison site. He said he believes getting denied for these cards are the exception rather than the rule. But he did say that some banks want to be sure that the bankruptcy is well behind the applicant, and, in some cases, penalize them a bit for getting into trouble.

So to clarify who is actually eligible for these cards, I called several issuers of secured credit cards and asked them about their approval policies. Some were more forthcoming than others, but here’s what they said:

Citibank. It depends on the individual’s situation, said Sean Kevelighan, a Citi spokesman. He declined to disclose the factors that it considers when making credit decisions.

(The Bucks’ reader said the bank refunded her and her husband’s secured deposit, totaling $1,000, and said it could not accept their application because “a credit obligation related to a bankruptcy or financial counseling plan was recorded on your credit bureau report.” The reader said they had applied for the card about 10 months after their debts were discharged in bankruptcy, though they continued to pay their student loans, mortgage and auto loans during the six-month bankruptcy period. Her husband has been self-employed since January 2010, though she is not working. Citi looked into the situation at our request, but declined to say why the couple was denied.)

HSBC. Applicants who provide a security deposit get approved, unless a background check with the credit bureaus turns up a discrepancy related to the identity of the applicant. Recent bankruptcies do not make you ineligible, and credit scores are not a factor in the company’s decision.

Capital One. If the courts have discharged your debts, an applicant would be immediately eligible for a secured card. Capital One also considers the applicant’s ability to repay. “Our goal is to provide reasonable access to credit with the appropriate guardrails in place,” said Sukhi Sahni, a spokeswoman for Capital One.

Bank of America. Generally speaking, applicants must be out of bankruptcy for a year, and must have another relationship with the bank, like a checking account. Delinquencies on other accounts are also likely to result in a denial. “Over time, we would want to see that they demonstrate the ability to manage their finances responsibly because ultimately the goal is to graduate them to a nonsecured card,” said Betty Riess, a spokeswoman for Bank of America.

Wells Fargo. Applicants must be out of bankruptcy for a year. The bank also looks at a variety of other factors, including FICO credit scores and payment history. Wells Fargo only issues credit cards to current bank customers as a general policy.

U.S. Bank. The bank declined to comment.

Have you tried to apply for a secured card? What type of situation were you in, and did you qualify?

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=876eed717cbf16534f0db2299e093ef9