Ventra Prepaid Banking Partner Has Long Reputation For Legal Difficulty

Metabank is a component of this Ventra system public-private partnership

Beyond the every day issues plaguing the Ventra rollout lies a possibly more troubling reality: The banking partner plumped for within the Ventra system seemingly have an extended reputation for appropriate issues linked to previous involvement in prepaid debit schemes along with other tasks.

The partnership that is public-private up to operate Ventra includes (at the very least) four entities aside from the CTA: First information, Cubic Transportation techniques, Mastercard and Metabank.

Metabank, element of keeping business Meta Financial Group, Inc., ended up being plumped for by Cubic as a partner into the prepaid debit card part of this program, in line with the CTA. Situated in Storm Lake, Ia., Metabank ended up being when referred to as First Midwest Financial and it has always been taking part in producing and running electronic repayment systems such as prepaid debit card programs, to some extent through its Metapay subsidiary.


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Nonetheless, Metabank has skilled a number of appropriate and ethical dilemmas since 2004. A few of these issues are linked to dilemmas such as for example fraudulence, participating in misleading company methods within the lending that is subprime as well as directly linked to operating a prepaid debit card system just like Ventra.

A quick overview of Metabank’s publicly-available appropriate history programs:

  • In 2004, the Sioux Falls class District filed suit alleging that MetaBank improperly allowed funds which belonged towards the college region become deposited into, and later withdrawn from, an account that is corporate by a worker for the college region.
  • In 2007, MetaBank had been sued together with a roster of participating banks for supplying a few loans and credit lines to car dealerships running underneath the J.D. Byrider brand name, accused in days gone by of predatory financing methods into the auto market that is subprime. It had been alleged MetaBank “participated into the scheme that is fraudulent by virtue of supplying these personal lines of credit and loans despite being conscious of the predatory customer methods for the dealerships, and therefore MetaBank profited by getting undisclosed “special advantages” for providing these loans.
  • Each of wire fraud, making a false statement in a bank’s books or records, money laundering and aggravated identity theft in 2009, a Metabank employee embezzled more than $4 million by selling false certificates of deposit (CDs) and was sentenced to seven years in a federal prison after pleading guilty to one count. Metabank had been afterwards sued by other banking institutions for deficiencies in guidance over its workers as well as refusing to offer the cash right right back.
  • This season, a well known loan that is short-term developed by Meta Financial Group called iAdvance had been halted because of the workplace of Thrift Supervision of this Securities and Exchange Commission due to alleged unjust or deceptive functions or methods in violation of Section 5 associated with the Federal Trade Commission Act additionally the OTS Advertising Regulations. MetaBank decided to pay $5.2 million in restitution and fines on the scheduled system, which offered payday and income tax reimbursement loans by means of prepaid debit cards. During the time, Metabank ended up being prohibitied from entering into “any new alternative party relationship agreements concerning any credit item, deposit item (including prepaid access), or automated teller machine”.
  • This year, Metabank’s particpation in a program that is popular marketed prepaid reloadable debit cards to primarily underbanked customers called NetSpend developed issues for NetSpend’s IPO because of Metabank’s past difficulties with work of Thrift Supervision. The OTS had directed MetaBank, had given about 71 % of NetSpend’s prepaid cards, to acquire approval for entering business that is new or materially amending current people. The OTS action that is regualtory Metabank had been applauded by customer advocate teams.
  • Last year, Metabank had payday loans in Indiana been tangled up in a lawsuit alleging something special card released by Metabank charged a client $15 to utilize the card, despite having a stability of $17.71 kept from the card for acquisitions. The suit alleged breach of agreement and “deceptive, deceptive, and conduct” that is fraudulent.

Every one of that leads to some other question that is key that which was the choice procedure the CTA utilized in picking its lovers for the Ventra system, and just just just just what requirements had been utilized in determing Metabank’s skills? Also, exactly exactly just what oversight existed throughout the development regarding the Ventra that is entire system?

The council members can ask of officials they call to testify if the Chicago City Council decides to go ahead and hold hearings over problems with the rollout of the Ventra program, as some aldermen want to do, there’s likely to be a whole series of questions.

Here’s another great place to begin.

In Part One of Ward Room’s series on feasible City Council hearings on Ventra dilemmas, we looked over the explanations why CTA joined into a partnership with personal organizations for Ventra. In role Two, we examined means Ventra’s banking partner might be profiting from charges.