April 8, 2006 - Posted at 1:01 p.m. CST
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Retail giant Wal-Mart says it can save
money by operating its own in-house bank. The Bentonville-based
company is asking the government for permission to open a bank to
handle the 140 million credit-card, debit card and electronic
check payments it handles each year. At present, it pays outside
companies to handle those transactions.
The company says it will stay out of branch banking and consumer
lending. About 300 institutions operate branches in Wal-Mart stores
and the company says it doesn't want to compete with them.
But some of the company's opponents still fear such a step could
hurt local banks much like mom-and-pop stores were during
Wal-Mart's rapid expansion.
This is Wal-Mart's fourth bid at running a bank _ and the
proposal has caused a flood of comments to the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation. In response, the F-D-I-C scheduled its first
public hearings ever on a bank application.
The first F-D-I-C hearing will be held Monday and Tuesday in
Arlington, Virginia, and a second one will be held April 25 in
Overland Park, Kansas.