Wal-Mart Bank Ruling Imminent

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WASHINGTON – The FDIC will vote this week on whether it should renew the expiring six-month moratorium on new industrial loan company applications, including the controversial ILC bid by retail giant Wal-Mat Stores. If the banking regulator decides to extend the moratorium it could mean the death of the Wal-Mart bid, which has attracted the opposition of hundreds of main street businesses, community banks and some lawmakers who fear Wal-Mart could throw them out of their 1,300 in-store branches and replace them within their own bank. FDIC action is critical because key lawmakers, including House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, are planning to introduce legislation as soon as today to permanently bar commercial entities like Wal-Mart from operating ILCs, so-called back-door banks. If the FDIC does not renew the moratorium it could vote the Wal-Mart application before Congress is able to enact a permanent ban. The FDIC has as many as nine other ILC applications pending, including one from home repairs retailer Home Depot.

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