Wal-Mart Sets Another Record
By George Anderson
Wal-Mart has set another in a long line of records.
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., it has received more comments than ever before from Wal-Mart’s application to open a bank in Utah.
In a letter to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Financial Services, the Chairman of the FDIC, Donald Powell, said the agency was looking into whether it should hold
public hearings on the retailer’s application.
Mr. Powell said the retailer would not receive treatment any different than any other applicant in determining whether its application should be approved or rejected.
“I am aware that there is a great deal of public interest in the Wal-Mart Bank application; however, I believe it is important that the application be processed in a manner that
is consistent with current law,” he wrote.
Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-Ohio), a member of the financial services committee, has come out against Wal-Mart’s application. “The basic principle is not to mix commerce and banking,”
he said. “To control a financial institution, you need to be at least 85 percent financial and Wal-Mart clearly is not that. Wal-Mart should not be permitted to play by different
rules from financial institutions.”
Last month, Rep Gillmor’s colleague in the House, Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) introduced legislation to block Wal-Mart and other commercial companies from controlling industrial
banks. Under the bill, reports Reuters, any company controlling an industrial bank would have to become a financial holding company subject to regulations under the Bank
Holding Company Act.
Moderator’s Comment: What affect would approval of Wal-Mart’s application to open an industrial bank have on the company’s retail business? What would
it mean for competitors, customers and suppliers to the retailer? –
George Anderson – Moderator