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August 14, 2012

News from MetroPCS, a retailer of cell phones to lower-income households, shows that smart phone penetration is increasing in one of the target unbanked and underbanked demographics.

Companies like MetroPCS, BoostMobile, TracFone, and Cricket inform important questions about the future of the unbanked and the prospects for change in the market place of companies that will serve them.

August 13, 2012

While prepaid card companies clearly chose to take the fight to consumer groups over overdraft during the recent comment period to the CFPB, the issue of how consumer funds are protected during loading was ignored.

The "load" is a service that allows a prepaid cardholder to transfer cash on to his or her prepaid card account. Generally, load providers charge between $2.95 and $4.95 to provide the service. The customer gives the fee for

August 10, 2012

The combination of underwater homeowners and the possibility that there are a substantial backlog of homes in sustained default which have not been foreclosed upon represents a major problem for some cities. But a proposal to fix that problem could de-stabilize the MBS market across the country.

In the last few weeks, several cities have said that they are considering using

August 9, 2012

Sometimes a new means for underwriting to the under-banked still results in the same bad set of product choices. A new way of making loans for EBay merchants breaks through that barrier.

Kabbage is really cool, really quick, and not too expensive.

August 7, 2012

When Green Dot acquired Loopt last March, investors reacted with a collective indifference. The stock's shares were gradually slipping at the time and stood at approximately $32. Since then, the stock's descent has only steepened, to the point where today they are selling for $10.40.

Yet today the wisdom of that acquisition deserves to be re-evaluated. Green Dot reported last week that some of

August 3, 2012

NetSpend reported earnings that exceeded expectations on Thursday afternoon, along with news that they are improving in several important metrics. Their recent success means that the contagion in prepaid may be limited to Green Dot.

NetSpend's managers told investment analysts that the number of people who have set up direct deposits on to

August 2, 2012

Comments on how the CFPB should approach general-purpose-reloadable prepaid debit cards closed on July 23rd. The comments are available for the public to read on the CFPB's web site.

It appears that NetSpend customers were aware of the opportunity to comment. At least one referenced an

July 31, 2012

Have we heard the last of the refund anticipation loan?

I cannot be certain about where - it might be on the shores of the Ohio River, in the suburbs of northern New Jersey, next to the wheat fields of South Dakota or on edge of the Chesapeake Bay in Norfolk. It might be on a

July 30, 2012

Holding prepaid card deposits results in a very low cost of funds: Bancorp paid 37 basis points on deposits. Save for those GPR accounts with savings deposits, prepaid card deposits are costless.

GPR deposits are still going up: Deposits on prepaid increased 177 basis points year-over-year. Bancorp is

July 30, 2012

One industry source suggests that there was a lot of controversy at Green Dot over how the company handled its earnings call. Apparently some staffers were upset enough to hand in their resignation letters.

To review, Green Dot shares dropped more than 60 percent on Friday after the company gave pessimistic