Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has applied to the Canadian government for official bank status, which would allow it to expand its financial services in the country.

The Bentonville, Ark., company's Canadian unit has applied to the Department of Finance for permission to establish a bank under the name Wal-Mart Canada Bank (or La Banque Wal-Mart du Canada in French), according to a notice posted Saturday on the Canadian government's Web site.

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