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Block's Emerald Loan Delayed

Adam Rust's picture

Posted January 18, 2011

H&R Block's Emerald Loan has been delayed. A company spokesperson said that the product is still being reviewed to make sure that it meets "regulations."

The Emerald Loan was supposed to be available on January 14th, in time for the new tax season. Block's Emerald

Advance Line of Credit is not available at this point in the year. That follows Block's stated plans.

The Emerald Loan costs $30 for a $1,000 loan, or $23 for $750. The loan sums were limited to those two amounts. The borrower is expected to pay Block back in 30 days. Some commenters have debated the point of whether or not the charge represents interest or a fee. Either way, the consumer pays the same $30 if they return the loan sum in 2 days or in 30 days.

Block's only settlement option at this point is the refund anticipation check.

Block intended to review the credit of applicants for an Emerald Loan. Some speculation said that denial rates would be as high as 40 percent. While the number could be far different, the point is that the review should have provided some protection for Block's balance sheet. It also means that many customers would be turned away.

The incident would seem to reflect poorly on the leadership at Block. Why promote a product when there is still regulatory due diligence left? Why train staff on a product that may never materialize? How will customers that came to Block with the belief that this product would be available react when their preparer tells them otherwise?