Reimagine money. Inspire life.

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The mission statement is a much-maligned phrase. Often couched in the worst management speak ‘corporatese’, they’re often seen as cheap words easily sold or a tick-box exercise that means little beyond the companies who adopt them. So when a financial services company says its goal is to ‘Reimagine Money, Inspire Life’, you could be forgiven for being sceptical.

However, as Karen Bowes, International Vice President, Human Resources, explains, genuine commercial imperatives partly underpin the apparent altruism:

“It makes perfect business sense for us to create products that work for our customers. A business relies on happy customers. But it works from a people perspective too. We have to attract the most intelligent and creative minds if we want to shake things up. We're able to say to these people, you can make a positive difference; you can have a real impact on people's lives; you can work for an organisation that is principled and has integrity. At the same time, you can explore your own potential; you can take control of your career. It's a win-win. Make your journey part of our journey. It's compelling and people are incredibly motivated by it and proud of what they do.”

So there is more to this ‘Reimagine Money, Inspire Life’ thing than meets the eye. In one sense, it appears to be a clever positioning to mark Capital One out from the financial services herd. Give people something they can believe in; offer them the chance to make a difference, and this creates a reason for talent to join. But what does this mean in practice – what’s the substance behind the words? Eleanor Turner, one of Capital One’s graduate Business Systems Analysts, gives us this concrete example:

“One of our most recent projects was called Dynamic Payment Due. The feature was designed to help customers by alerting them when adjustments were needed on their account and telling them exactly what they need to pay to get it back into credit or up to date. In effect, it gives customers an accurate snapshot of their current credit position if they miss a payment or are over their credit limit. It then encourages them to pay off these urgent amounts, which otherwise would accrue fees to them and could be damaging their credit file.

“This is a great example of ‘Reimagine Money, Inspire Life’ in action. It shows our willingness to help customers that are in a bad credit situation to get out of it, and it isn’t available from other banks.”

As it turns out, this is just one of many ways in which Capital One is helping its customers manage their money. Another recent innovation is its Quick Check product. This has been created to tell customers in advance whether their credit card application will be successful, so they avoid any adverse effect to their credit score.

Ultimately, it’s not what a business says it’s going to do, it’s about what it actually does in practice that counts. It seems that Capital One is prepared to put its money where its mouth is.