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ICBA Statement on Wal-Mart’s Strategic Bank Hire

Washington, D.C. (May 11, 2006)—Camden R. Fine, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), issued the following statement following media reports that Wal-Mart intends to hire an executive to oversee a strategic banking initiative. Wal-Mart testified in April before the FDIC on its application to obtain federal deposit insurance for an industrial loan company (ILC).

"First the 'inaccurate' testimony on leases, and now this? How can Wal-Mart continue to hide behind its testimony before the FDIC that it has no plans to get into retail banking? It seeks to employ a senior executive with a six figure salary to build its 'strategic banking' business who will have direct access to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott. This latest revelation is further evidence that Wal-Mart's true intention is to lay the groundwork for full-service banking by obtaining an ILC charter. The FDIC should examine Wal-Mart's public statements and judge if those statements reflect its actions.

"ICBA has long-opposed commercial enterprises entering the banking business by exploiting the ILC loophole in the Bank Holding Company Act and breaching our nation's separation of banking and commerce. It's time for Congress to remedy this situation and close the loophole."