The retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is seeking permission to purchase a federal thrift to market low-cost banking products to its customers.

In an application filed Tuesday with the Office of Thrift Supervision, the Bentonville, Ark.-based discounter said it plans to open thrift branches in five Wal-Mart "supercenters" during its second year of operation. The branches would concentrate on offering home loans and other "value-priced" products, according to the application.

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