The decision to cut back was made by the company providing the financing, according to CFO Mark Baumgartner. Liberty did not give the name of the states or the reason for the cutback, but speculated the decision could be related to new loan regulations since the consumer loan program is regulated by states. The company was not named, but has previously been identified in published reports as Meta financial.
However, despite the still small size of the program, Liberty appears to be committed to its continuation and development. ICA was developed in response to the end of Refund Anticipation Loans under pressure of government regulations.
"We believe this gives us a strong advantage because we are the only company to coffer tax settlement loans to our clientele," says Baumgartner.
Last year, Liberty also offered a credit card that was secured against anticipated tax refunds. The program was approved by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency too late to be offered for the full season. The OCC is currently reviewing the program to make sure it is consistent with all policies. While Liberty expects approval, Baumgartner said franchisees are being told not to expect its availability early in the season.