For the 214 people who still use H&R Block to prepare their income tax return, there will be a huge surprise at the interview desk in 2011, and it won't be lower prices: H&R Block can't offer to loan you your own money in anticipation of a tax refund, because Block's banking partner was forced by federal regulators to stop offering the loans.
This Master's degree didn't earn itself, dammit.
Please direct your "John Walsh is a Hero" directly to my new email address; John.Walsh@Profits-from-his-sons-murder.web
"Yeah, we got the letter right here," said Michael Geoghegan, HSBC's CEO, quickly pointing to, and then covering up a piece of paper that clearly was part of the comics section from his Sunday paper.
"It says 'Dear HSBC, don't underwrite RALs for H&R Block anymore. Or,... or we'll come and get you. Signed: The Government."
It's a bullet to the brain for Block, the nation's least innovative tax-preparation company, which could lose what's left of their client base to competitors still offering the loans: The company has virtually no time to find a new funding partner before tax season starts.
"F--k, f--k, f--k," said HRB CEO Alan Bennett, running in circles, hands flailing, in the lobby of Block's Kansas City headquarters. "Without RALs, we'll only be able to charge for tax preparation! F--k, f--k, f--k."
Block's "rapid refunds" are high-interest, short-term loans backed by an expected federal income tax refund.
A refund anticipation "check" is an account into which a refund is deposited. This enables taxpayers to have their tax return preparation fees deducted from their refund, rather than paying upfront.
As Block's co-conspirator in the despoiling of its clients, HSBC Bank has been lending low-income clients their own money since 2005, which typically are offered to customers with sh-tty jobs, or whose copy of the RAL application says "Préstamo de Reembolso Anticipado" in the header.
A spokesman for John Walsh, the head of the Office of Comptroller of the Currency, Department of the Treasury, would not provide any explanation for the directive.
"The actions by this agency are confidential," said John Walsh, who clearly leveraged the death of his son, Adam, into a cushy government job. "And to answer your other questions: No, it is not a made up office; No, I am not also the 'Grand Poobah of Cash' or 'Head Muckity-muck of Fundage'."
H&R Block now has 103 days before April 15, 2011, the day they will filed for bankruptcy protection.