WASHINGTON - Wal-Mart Stores Inc., struggling to expand its in-store banking services but thwarted by Congress, is reluctantly opening the door to credit unions.

The Bentonville, Ark., retail giant wants bank branches at each of its nearly 700 supercenters. The firm estimates that 20% of its customers, and many of its 900,000 U.S. employees, are unbanked. Wal-Mart has placed banks or thrifts at about 450 of the stores. But it has been unable to fill the remaining 250 - largely, the company claims, because the stores are located in poor or rural areas.

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