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H&R Block to discontinue Expresstax option

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — H&R Block Inc. is stopping service under its Expresstax brand that helped people who filed their taxes early and wanted refunds quickly.

The news comes a little more than two weeks after the nation’s biggest tax preparer announced that it won’t offer refund anticipation loans next tax season because it is getting more new clients and the appeal of the high-cost loans is shrinking.

Expresstax was traditionally an early season business, an H&R Block spokesman said. Typically, the customers who sought refund anticipation loans did so in late January and February. The spokesman could not confirm whether Expresstax handled a large percentage of the loans.

H&R Block said Thursday that it will record a pretax charge of about 2 cents or 3 cents per share in its fiscal second quarter related to discontinuing Expresstax service.

CEO Bill Cobb said in a statement that the company is getting rid of the brand because “it was no longer a growth driver and therefore not a good fit for our company.”

CREDIT CARDS

Discover faces FDIC action regarding protection sales

NEW YORK — Discover Financial Services is facing an enforcement action by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. about the way it sold its payment protection, identity-theft protection and other products.

The Riverwoods, Ill.-based credit card company said in a regulatory filing late Wednesday that the agency has notified its banking division that it plans to take action, following an investigation started several months ago. Discover said it is cooperating in the probe. The FDIC would not comment.

The investigation follows the filing of a series of class action lawsuits in several U.S. District Courts challenging the company’s marketing.

In addition payment protection and identity-theft protection, at issue are wallet protection, credit-score tracker and othere sales policies.

From wire dispatches and staff reports