Bill Seeks Ban on Wal-Mart Bank

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WASHINGTON – Leading members of the House Financial Services Committee introduced a bill yesterday that would bar commercial firms like Wal-Mart Stores from entering into banking through back-door banks like industrial loan companies. The bill, co-sponsored by Democrat Barney Frank, new chairman of the financial services panel, and Republican Paul Gilmor, would bar a company from owning an ILC unless at least 85% of its business is already in financial services. Introduction of the bill, which was introduced in the final months of the last Congress, comes just two days before the FDIC is scheduled to debate whether to renew its moratorium on new ILCs, including Wal-Mart’s. Wal-Mart insists he has no plans to replace the 1,300 credit unions and bank branches in its stores with its own branches, but only wants the bank charter to allow it process the $2 billion a day in retail transactions conducted at its stores. Meantime, the retail giant has accelerated its push into financial services, receiving approval from state regulators earlier this month to offer ATM services in 31 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in Minnesota, and from Mexican regulators to open a bank south of the border, Banco Wal-Mart de México Adelante.

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