Green Dot Corp., the nation’s largest issuer of prepaid debit cards, announced last week that it has signed deals with several major national retailers that will bolster its already substantial distribution network.

The Monrovia company inked a multiyear distribution agreement with discount chain Dollar Tree Inc. to sell the cards in thousands of retail locations. Green Dot also renewed a deal to manage a branded Visa gift card program in partnership with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and signed an extension of an agreement with San Jose-based online payment service PayPal.

Green Dot, founded in 1999, was a pioneer of prepaid debit cards, which have become popular among low-income consumers. The cards are not linked to a bank account and customers put money on them before using them like traditional debit cards.

The recent announcements gave a much-needed boost to Green Dot’s stock, which has been trading near its 52-week low as the company has been hit with a wave of competition. Chase Bank, for example, said this month that it will begin offering reloadable cards.

Under the Dollar Tree deal, Green Dot’s products will eventually be sold in 65,000 of the chain’s stores.

For Wal-Mart, Green Dot will expand its product line and redesign the cards sold at the national retail giant.

Green Dot’s week wasn’t all good, though. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it will take a closer look at the lightly regulated prepaid card industry, which analysts said could lead to tighter restrictions on the companies that issue the products – and higher costs. The bureau reportedly plans to issue new regulations by early next year.

Bullish Bets

Despite a disappointing initial public offering and sagging share price, Oaktree Capital Group LLC is feeling the love from some stock watchers.

After a post-IPO quiet period, analysts last week were allowed to initiate coverage on the downtown L.A. asset manager. Three analysts gave Oaktree a “buy” or equivalent rating.

Oaktree, founded in 1995 by a group that included Howard Marks, raised $380 million in a smaller-than-expected April 11 IPO. Shares were priced at $43, the bottom of the proposed range.

Since then, shares have dipped as low as $35 and closed May 23 at $38.80.

Morgan Stanley rated the stock “overweight” and set a target price of $55.

Goldman Sachs analysts set a target price of $52, saying in a note that “investors misprice the shares.”

But four analysts initiated coverage last week with “hold” or equivalent ratings.

C-Suite News

The Private Bank of California, a small lender headquartered in Century City, announced that it has hired Suzanne Dondanville as executive vice president and chief operations officer. … Grandpoint Bank in downtown Los Angeles said it has hired Jeff Boyer as executive vice president and director of corporate banking.

Staff reporter Richard Clough can be reached at rclough@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 251.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.