Home Depot Extends Into FinancialServices
ATLANTA - (06/08/06) Home improvements giant HomeDepot, which has applied for a bank-like industrial loan companycharter, entered the foreign remittances market this week, indirect competition with credit unions, banks and other moneytransfer services. Under the companys MiCash program,introduced first in the Washington, D.C., area, Home Depot willissue two cards, one for the worker in the U.S. and the other forhis or her family back home. Users will load money onto the card atATMs or participating Home Depot stores, all in the Washingtonarea, and recipients can use a variety of ATM networks to withdrawthe remittances in local currency. The cost of a remittance hasbeen set at $8. The remittance program is aimed at the thousands ofimmigrant laborers who hang out near Home Depots in hopes offinding construction or related work. Home Depot has agreed toacquire an ILC charter of EnerBank, which it plans to use toprovide financing for contractors and homeowners engaged inremodeling and other large-scale purchasers. The charter must stillbe approved by the FDIC. Expansion of Home Depot into financialservices comes as an application by Wal-Mart Stores to open an ILChas attracted vast opposition by lenders and community activistsacross the country.