Huge Prepaid Debit Growth at Meta Financial Group

Meta Financial PrepaidMeta Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CASH) reported fourth quarter and year end results on December 10, 2009. Their Meta Payment Systems subsidiary (an issuer of prepaid debit cards) showed tremendous growth in prepaid card fees.

The earnings report for Meta Financial was solid, including the following highlights:

– Meta Financial Group (MFG) fiscal 2009 net loss was $1.5 million while the fourth quarter net loss was $0.7 million

– Meta Payment Systems (MPS) fiscal 2009 non-interest income was $77.4 million, up 122% over 2008

– Traditional Bank segment showed fourth quarter net income of $0.9 million

– Non-performing loan and asset ratios improved from prior quarter end

– Low and no-cost MPS deposits grew by $137.3 million over prior year

– MetaBank remained well-capitalized including an improvement of risk-based capital ratio from the prior quarter.

However the piece that was of interest to us at was the tremendous growth in fees earned as a result of their card issuing activities, with 125% year over year growth (which they have achieved the past two years). meta-financial-prepaid-growth

Meta Payment Systems, a subsidiary of Meta Financial, is responsible for these numbers. Meta Payment Systems (or MPS) is focused on the electronic payments industry and offers a complement of prepaid cards, consumer credit products and other payment industry related products and services that are marketed to consumers through financial institutions and other commercial entities. The products and services offered by MPS are generally designed to facilitate the processing and settlement of authorized electronic transactions involving the movement of funds, some of which were previously deposited at the Bank. MPS offers specific product solutions in the following areas: (i) prepaid cards, (ii) consumer credit products, and (iii) ATM sponsorship. MPS’ products and services generally target banks, card processors and third parties who market and distribute the cards.

This tremendous growth in card fee income generally tracks the growth of the prepaid debit industry, although Meta appears to be well positioned to grow at a faster clip than its peers.

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