Crackdown on MetaBank Casts a Shadow on NetSpend’s IPO Leave a comment

Crackdown on MetaBank Casts a Shadow on NetSpend’s IPO

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

Austin, Texas-based NetSpend is planned to amount 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 to your Securities and Exchange Commission that the 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 it also 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 it has determined that the lender involved with unfair or misleading functions or methods in breach of the Federal Trade Commission Act and OTS marketing laws relating to the bank’s operation of this iAdvance system and needed the lender to discontinue all iAdvance line-of-credit origination task by Oct. 13, 2010,” Meta Financial’s filing states.

The filing doesn’t provide information regarding just exactly what the OTS bought at fault with iAdvance, which can be a short-term loan product which MetaBank calls a “microloan” while some news reports call it a cash advance. MetaBank supplies the solution to NetSpend as well as other consumers for who it issues cards that are prepaid. How many 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 additionally claims that due to Meta’s third-party relationship risk, other dangers, as well as its quick growth—growth the filing caused by the expansion to its Meta Payment Systems processing division—the OTS was needing it to obtain approval from the local manager before it might take part in different company tasks. The business requires an OTS ok before it may get into new third-party relationships, originate tax-refund that is new, and sometimes even provide income-tax transfers through the 2011 taxation period.

The point is, Meta Financial stated the discontinuance of iAdvance as well as the 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 problem that is possible NetSpend is the fact that its so closely connected with MetaBank. NetSpend manages 2 million active prepaid cards, and MetaBank problems 71% of those, according up to a filing the business made to your SEC week that is last advance for the IPO. NetSpend holds 4.9percent of Meta Financial’s equity, an action this program manager took “in purchase to help expand align our strategic passions with MetaBank,” NetSpend’s filing says.

Prepaid credit card researcher Tim Sloane of Mercator Advisory Group Inc. claims he doubts iAdvance alone was a product section of Meta’s company, but he notes that just Meta together with OTS have actually the details that are full. “It may be the OTS is wrestling with how exactly 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 the strategy of NetSpend Green that is rival Dot, that is when you look at the processing of purchasing a bank. “Better to stay in control over your very own destiny,” Morgan Stanley stated.

NetSpend intends to offer 2.27 million shares at ten dollars to $12 apiece, which will produce $22.7 million to $27.2 million before underwriting expenses. NetSpend’s present owners prepare to market 16.3 million stocks.

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