Meta Financial to handle refund-advance loans for H&R Block

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Meta Financial in Sioux Falls, S.D., is back in business with H&R Block.

The $5.8 billion-asset Meta disclosed in a regulatory filing Friday that it has a letter of intent with H&R Block unit Emerald Financial Services to provide financial products to the tax preparation firm’s clients.

A completed agreement would allow Meta to underwrite, originate and fund refund advance loans for H&R Block during next year’s tax season. Meta said the deal could generate $15 million to $20 million in net operating income in 2021.

Meta had a relationship with H&R Block as a recently as 2017, though the tax preparation company ended the partnership the next year.

Meta’s announcement came a day after Axos Financial in San Diego disclosed that H&R Block planned to end an Emerald partnership they had formed six years earlier. The two sides were unable to reach a deal on fees lost after Axos became subject to interchange caps tied to the Durbin amendment.

The $12.2 billion-asset Axos said it would lose about $21 million in in administrative fees in 2021 if the Emerald relationship ended. It also warned that it could lose another $10 million in net operating income next year if H&R selected another bank to handle its Refund Advance product.

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