First California Financial Group Inc. in Westlake Village, Calif., is partnering with another company to provide tax refunds in prepaid card accounts.

The bank’s electronic payments services division has signed a five-year contract with Santa Barbara Tax Products Group, a provider of tax-related financial products based in San Diego. Under the contract, the division has developed an automated clearinghouse electronic tax refund transfer program with a prepaid card, the $1.8 billion-asset company said in a March 7 press release.

First California did not respond to a request for an explanation of the fees that will be associated with the prepaid card.

Banks and tax companies are facing increased regulatory scrutiny over financial products related to tax refunds. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also is considering prepaid card issuers for inclusion in its nonbank supervision program (see story).

First California purchased the electronic banking solutions group from Palm Desert National Bank last year so it could enter the prepaid debit card market.

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