Consumer Groups Warn About Tax Refund Loans

The bank provided about 75 percent of all RALs sold by Jackson Hewitt, the country's third-largest tax-preparation chain, Fox said.

The office would not comment on why it blocked the 2010 loans. But consumer advocates have welcomed the news.

"There is good news in the fight against RALs," the Consumer Federation of America and the NCLC wrote in news release, urging regulators to prohibit any new banks from issuing RALs. "Taxpayers can save themselves loan fees altogether by just saying 'no' to quick-refund loans."

Convenient for Some

But not all customers frown on RALs. Chrissy Rauls, 27, an administrative assistant from Pascagoula, Miss., said she needed some extra money to buy Christmas gifts when H&R Block offered a loan, which she thought was a good deal.

"I think it was actually a good thing for me because I knew I was getting a large refund this year and they took the money I owed for the anticipation loan right out of my tax refund," she said, adding that she paid $90 in fees and interest on a $900 loan.

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