Community Bankers Fight Wal-MartBank

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WASHINGTON - (01/23/06) – The nation’s communitybankers have turned their ire from credit unions to Wal-Mart storesas of late, in fears that the retail giant is getting a footholdinto the banking business. The FDIC said last week it will holdpublic hearings on Wal-Mart’s application for a Utah bankingcharter, something that has become the focus of increasedopposition in the banking community and among community activists.The community bankers have organized a major lobby against theretail giant’s bank bid, which they fear will enable Wal-Martto develop banking office in its chain of nationwide stores.Wal-Mart claims the bank will be used mainly to processtransactions, for which the company needs a bank charter. Wal-Martnote that Utah banking charters have already allowed to non-bankingcompanies to get bank charters, including Target, Sears, Ford,General Motors, GE Capital, and auto makers Volkswagen, Volvo andBMW. The FDIC’s approval is critical because in order forWal-Mart to get a Utah charter they must have federal depositinsurance provided by the FDIC.

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