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ICBA Statement on Wal-Mart Modifying Its Leases with Banks

Washington, D.C. (March 15, 2007)—Camden R. Fine, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), issued the following statement about reports that Wal-Mart is modifying its existing leases with banks to allow Wal-Mart to conduct expanded retail banking services in its stores.

"Time after time, Wal-Mart has made misstatements and given false information to the FDIC in connection with its application for an FDIC-insured Utah industrial loan company charter. The company said it doesn't plan to get into retail banking. Now, with the revelation that the corporation is modifying its current bank leases so that it can offer mortgages, loans and other financial products to customers in its stores, it is undeniable that Wal-Mart's master plan is to get into retail banking.

"Allowing the world's largest corporation to breach the wall separating banking and commerce to open a retail bank would pose an unacceptable risk to the Deposit Insurance Fund and destabilize thousands of local communities across the nation."

ICBA strongly urges Congress to take up and pass the ICBA-endorsed Industrial Bank Holding Company Act (H.R. 698) introduced by Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Paul Gillmor (R-Ohio) and co-sponsored by 81 members of Congress, that would close the ILC loophole in the Bank Holding Company Act and prohibit Wal-Mart, Home Depot and other non-financial companies from using an ILC charter loophole to skirt the law preventing commercial firms from owning FDIC-insured financial institutions."