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Uncertain Days for H&R Block

Adam Rust's picture

Posted December 13, 2010

Time is running out for H&R Block to resolve its impasse with HSBC, USA.

One commenter on an investment board said that Block has 10 days, more or less, to settle its dispute with HSBC.  Block said the same thing on October 15th, in their filing against HSBC, USA:

Absent performance by HSBC during the next two months, Block will not be able to offer these products” during the 2011 tax season....Block’s inability to offer these

popular products this year would damage or destroy Block’s relationships with the millions of clients who desire them, would injure Block’s reputation and customer good will, and cannot be remedied by mere monetary damages."

Wednesday marks two months after Block wrote this statement. Time is of the essence. Block needs some time to train staff on how to offer these products. They need time to get HSBC's software for the applications. They need time to determine how they will market the product. On Wednesday, the early season tax rush is one month away. With time for holidays, Block will have 17 business days (counting days off for New Year's and Christmas).

Jackson Hewitt has secured almost all of the RAL funding that they expect to need. The RAL funding, coupled with SBTPG finding a new partner for RAC products, brings new life to the Jackson Hewitt business model. Suddenly they aren't a moribund franchise without the basic products that drive 90 percent of their customers to their stores. They are back in business, pedaling high cost financial products to low-income consumers.

According to Jackson Hewitt, this means that they will enjoy an advantage over Block in this year's tax season.

A weary investor might pause before drinking the JTX kool-aid. Remember, the regulatory shoe still hasn't dropped. JTX's RAL funding won't happen if the FDIC decides to act against Republic Bank of Kentucky. The FDIC issued a cease and desist order against Republic in 2009. JTX's fortune is completely contingent on FDIC complicity.