Crackdown on Meta Bank Casts a Shadow on NetSpend’s IPO

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

Austin, Texas-based NetSpend is planned to cost its long-planned IPO on Thursday, based on reports from the economic cables. But its close ties to MetaBank caused rounds of conjecture about perhaps the IPO will in truth take place. A NetSpend representative claims 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 income tax refunds, alleged anticipation that is tax-refund.

“The OTS suggested us on Oct. 6 so it has determined that the lender involved with unfair or misleading functions or techniques in breach of the Federal Trade Commission Act and OTS marketing laws associated with the bank’s operation for the iAdvance program and needed the lender to discontinue all iAdvance line-of-credit origination task by Oct. 13, 2010,” Meta Financial’s filing states.

The filing will not provide information regarding exactly exactly what the OTS bought at fault with iAdvance, that is a short-term loan product which MetaBank calls a “microloan” although some news reports call it a loan that is payday. MetaBank provides the solution to NetSpend along with other consumers for who it issues prepaid cards. The amount of such loans and their total receivables were perhaps maybe not instantly 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 danger, other dangers, and its own growth—growth that is rapid the related to the expansion to its Meta Payment Systems processing division—the OTS ended up being needing it to obtain approval from the local payday badcredit loans direct lender manager before it might participate in different business tasks. The business needs an OTS fine before it may come right into brand brand brand new third-party relationships, originate brand new tax-refund loans, and on occasion even offer income-tax transfers through the 2011 taxation period.

The point is, Meta Financial stated the discontinuance of iAdvance therefore 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 shares shut down 33percent on Wednesday.

The possible issue for NetSpend is the fact that its so closely connected with MetaBank. NetSpend manages 2 million active prepaid cards, and MetaBank dilemmas 71% of those, relating to a filing the business made to your 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 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 as well as the 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 written report Wednesday saying Meta’s woes add up to an recommendation associated with the strategy of NetSpend Green that is rival Dot, that will be into the processing of getting a bank. “Better to stay control over your very own destiny,” Morgan Stanley stated.