FDIC to Hold Hearings on Wal-Mart Bank Proposal

by Arkansas Business staff  on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 12:06 pm  

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Thursday that it has scheduled two public hearings on Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s attempt to open an industrial bank.

The hearings will be the first time the regulator has held formal public hearings on a bank application.

"There has been considerable public interest in the application," the FDIC said in a news release. "The FDIC believes that public participation will provide valuable insight into the issues presented by the application and will serve the public interest."

The hearings will take place from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. April 10-11 in Washington, D.C., and from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. April 25-26 in Kansas City, Mo.

Bentonville-based Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, has applied to open an industrial loan company to handle electronic payment processing. The bank would be headquartered in Salt Lake City.

Copies of the public portion of Wal-Mart's bank application and more than 1,900 comment letters received about the application are available at the FDIC's Web site here.

Critics of Wal-Mart's application, including congressional members and banks, say Wal-Mart could use the bank to offer other financial services. They also say the Wal-Mart bank would cross the line between banks and other businesses that primarily offer financial services.

But regulators in Utah have said that the state's laws make it unlikely that an industrial bank charter obtained by Wal-Mart Stores could be used to further the company's hopes of owning a retail bank.



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