Why Green Dot May Grab a Windfall From GoBank / Walmart Partnership

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Walmart (WMT)  announced a partnership with GoBank -- a subsidiary of publicly traded Green Dot (GDOT) -- last week. But the announcement may really mark a windfall for Green Dot and for investors alike.

The deal may not translate into a surge of new Walmart customers or a dramatic jump in its stock price: Walmart shares didn't go much of anywhere last week and are down 0.7% Monday. But Green Dot may benefit the most. It's a technology-based pro-consumer bank holding company that offers personal banking services through prepaid credit card products, and now will run a bank at Walmart.

Prior to the partnership announcement with the retail giant, Green Dot was trading at just under $19. But since the agreement the stock has jumped as much as 20% to close at $22.26 on Friday and is trading in the $21.30 range Monday as of noon.

Green Dot, which hit highs of over $63 after going public in late 2010 and lows of just over $9 in 2012, has plenty of room to run. That's doubly true if the GoBank low-fee checking option leads to more customers and more banking options to retain those new customers.

GoBank and Green Dot's strategy has been to capture consumers that are fed up with the high fees from traditional bank checking services and to appeal to unbanked or under-banked customers that banks don't deem profitable.

Due to this deal, Green Dot stock could revisit its 52-week high of $26.87, which it reached on Jan. 30. And it may see another 20% move from here.

The real untapped value potential would come from a spinoff of GoBank from Green Dot in a potential 2015 IPO -- that is, if the Walmart partnership expands or GoBank signs other large retail deals.

Of course, GoBank has stiff competition from the likes of Apple's (AAPL) Apple Pay, announced earlier this month, and Ebay's (EBAY) PayPal, which itself may spin off into an IPO next year.

In addition, some banks are offering low-cost options, such Capital One's (COF) 360 account and Ally Bank's (ALLY) offerings. But these options would not be as profitable to the traditional brick-and-mortar banks with high branch network overhead costs.

One thing is for sure: this is a tough environment for traditional banks.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

TheStreet Ratings team rates GREEN DOT CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate GREEN DOT CORP (GDOT) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: GDOT Ratings Report

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