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Crackdown on MetaBank Casts a Shadow on NetSpend’s IPO

Crackdown on MetaBank Casts a Shadow on NetSpend’s IPO

Federal banking regulators this thirty days cracked straight down on MetaBank, an important prepaid credit card issuer, an action that tossed into concern the pending initial public providing of prepaid credit card system supervisor NetSpend Corp.

Austin, Texas-based NetSpend is scheduled to expense its long-planned IPO on Thursday, in accordance with reports in the economic cables. But its ties that are close MetaBank triggered rounds of conjecture about if the IPO will actually take place. A NetSpend representative states he can’t comment.

On Tuesday, MetaBank’s moms and dad business, Storm Lake, Iowa-based Meta Financial Group Inc., reported to your Securities and Exchange Commission that any office of Thrift Supervision had taken enforcement actions against MetaBank. The OTS banned MetaBank from issuing any brand new loans under its iAdvance item at the time of Wednesday, and in addition it put settings on its company of issuing loans prior to clients’ receipt of income tax refunds, alleged anticipation that is tax-refund.

“The OTS encouraged us on Oct. 6 so it installment loans no credit check has determined that the lender involved in unfair or misleading functions or methods in breach of the Federal Trade Commission Act and OTS marketing laws associated with the bank’s operation of this iAdvance system and needed the financial institution to discontinue all iAdvance line-of-credit origination activity by Oct. 13, 2010,” Meta Financial’s filing states.

The filing will not offer factual statements about just exactly what the OTS available at fault with iAdvance, which can be a short-term loan item that MetaBank calls a “microloan” although some news reports call it a pay day loan. MetaBank provides the solution to NetSpend as well as other consumers for who it issues cards that are prepaid. The amount of such loans and their total receivables were maybe not straight away available. Wednesday an OTS spokesperson refused to comment, and a Meta spokesperson referred a Digital Transactions News call to an executive who did not respond by late.

The filing also claims that due to Meta’s third-party relationship danger, other dangers, and its particular fast growth—growth the filing related to the expansion to its Meta Payment Systems processing division—the OTS ended up being requiring it getting approval from the local manager before it might participate in different company tasks. The organization requires an OTS fine before it could come right into brand new third-party relationships, originate tax-refund that is new, and on occasion even provide income-tax transfers through the 2011 taxation period.

The point is, Meta Financial stated the discontinuance of iAdvance in addition to prospective discontinuance of tax-related programs now susceptible to OTS approval would “eliminate an amazing portion” of Meta Payment Systems’ gross revenue. Meta’s stocks shut down 33percent on Wednesday.

The problem that is possible NetSpend is it really is so closely connected with MetaBank. NetSpend manages 2 million active prepaid cards, and MetaBank problems 71% of those, relating to a filing the business made into the SEC a week ago in advance of this IPO. NetSpend holds 4.9percent of Meta Financial’s equity, an action the program manager took “in purchase to help expand align our strategic passions with MetaBank,” NetSpend’s filing claims.

Prepaid credit card researcher Tim Sloane of Mercator Advisory Group Inc. claims he doubts iAdvance alone had been a product section of Meta’s company, but he notes that just Meta while the OTS have actually the complete details. “It may be the OTS is wrestling with just how to handle prepaid in sponsoring banks, as well as in figuring that away, they’ve placed these limitations set up,” he claims.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley issued a study Wednesday saying Meta’s woes add up to an recommendation associated with strategy of NetSpend Green that is rival Dot, which can be into the processing of purchasing a bank. “Better to stay in control of your very own destiny,” Morgan Stanley said.

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