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2002-01-13
Bentonville, AR. Wal-Mart Bank? Don't bank on it.

Time magazine's January 14th issue reports that Wal-Mart "would like to offer low-cost checking and savings accounts and other financial services" in its stores. To get around federal banking regulations that prohibit retailers from owning banks, Wal-Mart is apparently going north of the border into Canada, and negotiating with the Toronto Dominion Bank to manage this service, "but staffed at least partly by Wal-Mart employees", says Time. In this way, Wal-Mart could try to work its way around U.S.banking regulations". Readers of Newsflash will recall that Wal-Mart has been trying to break into the banks for at least two years. We reported in July of 1999 that Wal-Mart wanted to buy an Oklahoma savings bank to marry "a retail banking business to a new a large customer base." By federal law, commercial companies cannot own national banks, but they can operate a single thrift. The Oklahoma savings bank that Wal-Mart wanted, the Federal BankCenter,is a federally-chartered savings and loan institution. The request by Wal-Mart had to be approved by the federal Office of Thrift Supervision. Wal-Mart's proposal called for the corporation to open up 5 branch offices at Wal-Mart supercenters. The proposal drew significant criticism from the banking community, and now Wal-Mart is looking for ways to get around federal regulations to get banking market share.

What you can do: For more information about Wal-Mart's efforts to break into the banking business, search this database using the word "banking".










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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