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Crackdown on MetaBank Casts a Shadow on NetSpend’s IPO

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

Austin, Texas-based NetSpend is planned to amount its long-planned IPO on Thursday, relating to reports from the monetary cables. But its close ties to MetaBank caused rounds of conjecture about if 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 into 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 new loans under its iAdvance item at the time of Wednesday, plus it put settings on its company of issuing loans prior to clients’ receipt of income income tax refunds, alleged tax-refund expectation loans.

“The OTS recommended us on Oct. 6 so it 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 associated with the iAdvance system and needed the financial institution to discontinue all iAdvance line-of-credit origination task by Oct. 13, 2010,” Meta Financial’s filing states.

The filing will not offer information about exactly just 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 service to NetSpend along with other customers for whom it issues prepaid cards. The sheer number of such loans and their total receivables were perhaps not instantly available. An OTS representative refused 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, as well as its growth—growth that is rapid the caused by the expansion to its Meta Payment Systems processing division—the OTS http://www.paydayloansnc.org/ ended up being requiring it to obtain approval from its local manager before it may take part in various business tasks. The organization requires an OTS fine before it could get into brand new third-party relationships, originate brand new tax-refund loans, and sometimes even provide income-tax transfers throughout the 2011 taxation period.

The point is, Meta Financial stated the discontinuance of iAdvance and also the possible 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 it’s so closely intertwined with MetaBank. NetSpend manages 2 million active prepaid cards, and MetaBank dilemmas 71% of these, according up to a filing the business made towards the SEC week that is last advance associated with IPO. NetSpend holds 4.9percent of Meta Financial’s equity, an action this system 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. states he doubts iAdvance alone ended up being a product section of Meta’s company, but he notes that just Meta plus 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 out, 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 regarding the strategy of NetSpend competing Green Dot Corp., that is when you look at the processing of shopping for a bank. “Better to stay in control of your very own destiny,” Morgan Stanley stated.

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

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