It sure wasn't supposed to be like this. Last quarter, subprime credit card issuer CompuCredit
Sure, things were expected to be soft. When consumers get income tax refunds, they tend to pay off outstanding debts, so CompuCredit doesn't collect fees that it normally would on delinquencies. Yet the company was just as surprised as everyone else by the drop-off. Couple that with the loss of fees it decided not to charge for credit cards that were more than 90 days delinquent, and an anticipated profit turned into a very unexpected loss.
While I'm tempted to take the Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation to task for miscalculating its results, there were factors involved that, although bad for this quarter, should greatly improve results later on this year. For example, those lower delinquency rates noted above ended up improving so much that the company received $22 million less in fees than expected. That's bad for first-quarter results, but it also means that further on down the road, CompuCredit will experience significantly lower charge-off rates related to those accounts. That'll be good for its full-year results.
Additionally, while it bills itself as having "consumer friendly" collection policies (though I'm sure some consumer advocates would beg to differ), it implemented some one-time credits to customer accounts totaling $6 million for late fees and overbilling charges in the event that there was confusion with the changes in its credit card programs. Those fees weren't anticipated coming into the quarter, nor should they be repeated. And CompuCredit gets to put a smiley face on its consumer watchdog file.
Having gotten this nasty first quarter behind it, CompuCredit says there's still no indication that the problems in the subprime mortgage industry are spilling over into its business. So looking ahead, there's a lot to like here, and the after-hours sell-off in the stock looks like a buying opportunity to this Fool.
Like many others in the subprime lending industry, CompuCredit is expanding internationally. Not only did it buy from British bank Barclay's
And similar to First Cash Financial's
As disappointing as the first-quarter loss is, and while certain aspects of the loss were not unexpected, there's much to warrant a closer look at CompuCredit, particularly with its stock trading (at least in the after-hours market) some 10% lower. It has a firmer foundation for the rest of the year (albeit not necessarily by design), has expanded internationally with two new ventures that hold reduced risk, and is expanding here at home through diversification.
Having bought nearly 3 million shares back at around $30 a stub, CompuCredit is deploying its capital in a fashion that should continue to build shareholder value in the future.
CompuCredit is a recommendation of Motley Fool Stock Advisor. It's a credit to the investing prowess of David and Tom Gardner that they're beating the market by an average of 40 percentage points. A 30-day risk free trial subscription is yours for the asking.
Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of CompuCredit but does not have a financial position in any of the other stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.