MetaBank was founded on one very simple premise: take good care of our employees and customers. On a cold February morning in Storm Lake, Iowa in 1954, Stanley Haahr opened the doors with nothing more than a desk, a cash box and a borrowed vault. The world of banking has changed a lot since then, but we try to always hold on to Stanley’s simple credo of taking care of people. Doing the right thing. It’s who we are and what we do.
MetaBank’s retail bank roots are the foundation of our business. With ten locations across Iowa and South Dakota, we continue to offer traditional banking services designed to serve the needs of individual, agricultural and business customers.
In 2004, prepaid industry leader Brad Hanson approached former MetaBank CEO Tyler Haahr with a vision for a new kind of bank. Together, they created the Meta Payment Systems division. In a few short years, we became a top collaborator with market-leading partners and one of the top card issuers in the prepaid industry. We continue to push the forefront of payments as we focus on prepaid cards, credit cards, electronic funds transfer and ATM sponsorship.
2014 marked the beginning of an active mergers and acquisition period. We acquired AFS/IBEX in December 2014. This acquisition marked the entry of MetaBank into the insurance premium finance industry. Our strategy was to specifically grow our loan portfolio by leveraging the low-cost deposits brought in by the prepaid division.
The next acquisition came 11 months later in September 2015. We entered a new chapter in our history with the acquisition of Refund Advantage: the tax space. Our new tax services offers interest-free refund advances and tax refund-transfer solutions. It also provides a new distribution channel for our prepaid products and other services.
We continued to invest in the tax industry with two acquisitions in 2016: EPS Financial in November and Specialty Consumer Services in December. These two acquisitions give us an incredibly unique position in the tax space. Our expanded product offerings include tax refund-transfer solutions, interest-free refund advance loans and electronic return originator loans. MetaBank provided underwriting for and originated approximately $1.3 billion of refund advance loans in each 2017 and 2018 tax seasons.
Most recently, in August 2018, we completed our acquisition of Crestmark Bancorp, Inc. and Crestmark Bank. This acquisition expands the scale and reach of the company into providing business-to-business commercial financing, such as asset-based lending, factoring, equipment financing, and leasing, as well as SBA and USDA lending. These initiatives provide a great opportunity for growth as we look to further optimize the balance sheet and more fully utilize our low cost funding base.
So what makes us different? Two things: driving innovation and leading change. We’re passionate about financial success for all people using creative and innovative products and services. What started as a $10,000 investment in 1954 has evolved to a complex financial ecosystem whose goal is financial inclusion for everyone. Doing the right thing. It’s who we are and what we do.