Higher One's Future Cloudy as Fees Investigated, Stock Price Drops, Executives Depart
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Lasater and Volchek are leaving Higher One because “the time was right,” company spokeswoman Lemoine says. They remain on its board of directors.
Only in their mid-30s, both exit the company rich men. Each earned more than $2.5 million in total salary, bonuses and benefits between 2010 and 2012, according to SEC filings. They also sold large blocks of stock last year—Volchek almost $2 million worth, Lasater about $1.2 million. They both still own shares worth millions more.
According to his blog, Lasater plans to “take this year to look around and explore the world.” On the agenda: reading 100 books a year, taking online courses and dabbling in a variety of causes and interests, including money in politics, art promotion and New Haven start-ups.
Meanwhile, the company Lasater and Volchek started continues to face big challenges: legislation to curb its fees, continued campus backlash, an ongoing Consumer Financial Protection Bureau inquiry and possible federal rule changes that could threaten its business model.
Higher One is striving hard to diversify that business model. In a February earnings call, executives indicated that the firm is reducing its dependence on bank fees, a tacit concession to its critics. The company is also endeavoring to build up payment and other services it offers schools and students.
Whether all those efforts are enough to get Higher One riding high once again remains to be seen.