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Why Higher One Holdings, Inc. Shares Plunged Today

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Higher One Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ONE  ) fell 14% after the company's latest quarterly SEC filing disclosed that the Federal Reserve is seeking penalties against it, which could cause it to default on a loan.

So what: According to the filing, on May 9 the Federal Reserve advised Higher One that it is seeking an administrative order against the company for violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act. Specifically, the order stems from Higher One's "marketing and disclosure practices related to the process by which students may select the OneAccount option for financial aid refund."

Higher One is in discussions with the Federal Reserve's board of governors regarding the matter. Because the situation is in its early stages, however, Higher One says the final amounts of any resulting restitution demands are "impossible to predict." As a result, Higher One admits that "it is possible the amounts could reach levels that would cause an event of default under our Credit Facility."

Now what: The news also comes on the heels of Higher One's better-than-expected first-quarter results last Thursday, which had me reconsidering whether shares were finally worth a deeper look following uncertainties regarding regulatory scrutiny this year. For now, and until we receive more clarity on the size of the penalties Higher One is facing, my feet will remain firmly planted on the sidelines.

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Steve Symington

Technology and consumer goods specialist for the Fool. Steve looks for responsible businesses which positively shape our lives. Then, he invests accordingly. Enjoy his work? Connect with him on Twitter & Facebook so you don't miss a thing.

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Related Tickers

9/2/2015 4:02 PM
ONE $1.93 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Higher One Holding… CAPS Rating: ***