Discover Financial Services
Discover Financial Servic
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Discover Financial Services

Companies

Discover Financial Services

Discover Financial Services

Financial services

Description

Discover Financial Services is an American financial services company that owns and operates Discover Bank, an online bank that offers checking and savings accounts, personal loans, home equity loans, student loans and credit cards. It also owns and operates the Discover and Pulse networks, and owns Diners Club International. Discover Card is the third largest credit card brand in the United States, when measured by cards in force, with nearly 50 million cardholders. Discover is currently headquartered in the Chicago suburb of Riverwoods, Illinois.

History

In 1981, Sears purchased the Dean Witter Reynolds brokerage firm organization and Coldwell, Banker & Company (real estate franchise) as an attempt to add financial services to its portfolio of customer services. In 1985, Sears also acquired the Greenwood Trust Company. Altogether, these companies operated as a Sears subsidiary called Dean Witter Financial Services Group, Inc. The plan to create a one-stop financial-services center in Sears stores was not as successful as Sears had hoped. Its credit card operations accounted for a loss of $22 million in the fourth quarter of 1986, and a loss of $25.8 million in the first quarter of 1987.

In March 1993, Sears sold off its financial services branch as a new independent publicly traded company called Dean Witter, Discover & Co. with Dean Witter Reynolds in charge. This company had a stock ticker symbol of DWD.

In 1995, Discover Card Services, Inc. changed its name to NOVUS Services, Inc. to distinguish its network functions from the Discover Card.

In 1997, this company merged with investment banking house Morgan Stanley to become Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Discover & Co.

On February 1, 1999, the company rebranded itself as Discover Financial Services, Inc. The NOVUS logo was retired, replaced by the Discover Network logo.

In April 2005, Morgan Stanley announced that it would divest Discover Financial Services as an independent company within six months. By June, industry sources reported that Morgan Stanley was reassessing its plan to spin off Discover. In August, the company confirmed it would not sell Discover. However, on December 19, 2006, during a fourth quarter earnings report, Morgan Stanley CEO John J. Mack announced Discover would be spun off as a standalone publicly traded company by the end of August 2007, stating that both companies will be better positioned for growth and success as separate entities. Ahead of schedule on June 30, 2007, Discover was spun off as an independent, publicly traded company. It began trading on the NYSE for the first time on July 2 as DFS.

In February 2024, Capital One announced its intention to acquire Discover in an all-stock deal worth $35.3 billion.

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