Crackdown on MetaBank Casts a Shadow on NetSpend’s IPO

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

Austin, Texas-based NetSpend is planned to expense its long-planned IPO on Thursday, relating to reports regarding the monetary cables. But its close ties to MetaBank caused rounds of conjecture about whether or not the IPO will in truth 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 towards the Securities and Exchange Commission that any office of Thrift Supervision had taken enforcement actions against MetaBank. The OTS banned MetaBank from issuing any brand brand new loans under its iAdvance item at the time of Wednesday, and in addition it put settings on its business of issuing loans prior to customers’ receipt of income income income tax refunds, alleged anticipation that is tax-refund.

“The OTS recommended us on Oct. 6 so it has determined that the lender involved in unfair or acts that are deceptive techniques in breach of the Federal Trade Commission Act and OTS marketing laws regarding the the bank’s operation for the iAdvance system and needed the financial institution to discontinue all iAdvance line-of-credit origination activity by Oct. 13, 2010,” Meta Financial’s filing claims.

The filing will not offer information about exactly what the OTS bought at fault with iAdvance, that will be a short-term loan item that MetaBank calls a “microloan” although some news reports call it a cash advance. MetaBank provides the solution to NetSpend along with other customers for who it issues cards that are prepaid. The amount of such loans and their total receivables were perhaps perhaps not instantly available. An OTS representative declined to comment, and a Meta representative referred a Digital Transactions Information call to an professional whom failed to react by belated Wednesday.

The filing additionally states that due to Meta’s third-party relationship danger, other dangers, and its own quick growth—growth the filing related to the expansion to its Meta Payment Systems processing division—the OTS had been needing it to have approval from the local manager before it might take part in different company tasks. The organization requires an OTS fine before it could come into brand brand new third-party relationships, originate brand new tax-refund loans, and on occasion even provide income-tax transfers through the 2011 taxation period.

The point is, Meta Financial stated the discontinuance of iAdvance together with prospective discontinuance of tax-related programs now at the mercy of OTS approval would “eliminate a considerable portion” of Meta Payment Systems’ gross revenue. Meta’s stocks shut down 33percent on Wednesday.

The feasible issue for NetSpend is its so closely connected with MetaBank. NetSpend manages 2 million active prepaid cards, and MetaBank dilemmas 71% of these, relating to a filing the business made towards the SEC a week ago in advance of this IPO. NetSpend holds 4.9percent of Meta Financial’s equity, an action this system manager took “in purchase to further align our interests that are strategic MetaBank,” NetSpend’s filing states.

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

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