What happened

Shares of financial technology company Green Dot (GDOT 1.93%) rose 110.6% in the first half of 2020, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Don't get too excited about these massive gains, though -- Green Dot is more of a turnaround story than a skyrocketing growth stock.

So what

Green Dot's stock price plunged 71% lower in 2019, hamstrung by a series of disappointing earnings reports. The company set itself up for short-term trouble by investing in expensive product ideas such as cash-back accounts yielding 3%. They might have the power to generate stronger growth in the long run, but only if Green Dot survives the difficult ramp-up period.

The company appointed a new CEO in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. Dan Henry brings a wealth of relevant experience to his new job, and he has the backing of activist investor firm Starboard Value, which used a 9% ownership stake to force a leadership change in 2020.

A green charting arrow bounces skyward off a black trampoline.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Henry is in the process of reshaping Green Dot's business model. He wants to simplify the company's unwieldy collection of several payment-processing platforms and five sponsor banks. Ending what Henry called "bad business practices" in an interview with BTIG analyst Mark Palmer would also improve Green Dot's fiscal efficiency.

These are ambitious goals that absolutely could set Green Dot on a steadier long-term path. But today, I'm still quite content with watching the company's difficult turnaround attempt from the sidelines, because the stock looks both risky and fully valued right now.