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ICBA Applauds Lawmakers for Opposing Federal Deposit Insurance for Wal-Mart Bank

Congress Says Risk to Payments System Too Great

Washington, D.C. (March 23, 2006)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) applauds 45 members of the U.S. House of Representatives for signing a bi-partisan letter asking the FDIC to deny Wal-Mart's application for federal deposit insurance for a proposed industrial loan corporation (ILC) in Utah.

"We are pleased to see members of Congress reaffirm their decision to maintain the wall separating banking and commerce," said Terry J. Jorde, ICBA chairman, and president and CEO of CountryBank USA, Cando, N.D. "We commend these lawmakers for stepping forward to safeguard our nation's payments system against the potential financial instability caused by a single enormous commercial enterprise having such a concentrated interest."

In a letter to Acting FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg, 45 members of Congress urged the agency to reject Wal-Mart's bank application since it would violate long-standing U.S. policy that separates banking and commerce and prohibits commercial firms from owning banks. The letter called the payments system "a keystone of our economic stability and prosperity." The letter comes on the heels of a March 10 letter signed by an additional 39 members of Congress who also asked the FDIC to reject the Wal-Mart application.

The FDIC will hold public hearings on the application April 10-11 in Washington, D.C. and April 25 in Kansas City, Mo. Jorde will represent ICBA and the nation’s community banks during the April 10 hearing.

For more information about ICBA's position, visit www.icba.org.