Community Bankers Association of Illinois

U.S. REGULATORS WILL LIKELY HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING ON WAL-MART'S APPLICATION
02/28/06

U.S. regulators will likely hold a public hearing on Wal-Mart's application to open a bank, the supervisory agency told lawmakers in a letter indicating the retailer''s controversial bid may be delayed.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Acting Chairman Martin Gruenberg, following calls from some in Congress to hold up action on Wal-Mart''s application, also said he believed the agency''s board vacancy would be filled before a decision is made, according to the letter obtained by Reuters.

"I expect that any final determination on this application will be made by the Board of Directors and will not be acted on by the Board without the benefit of a public hearing," he said. An FDIC spokesman confirmed Gruenberg had sent the letter.

Wal-Mart said it welcomed the hearing and noted it thinks its application meets all regulatory requirements.

"We are also grateful for this chance to help the public understand the purpose for the bank and that many corporations including Target, GM, and Toyota already operate industrial banks," said Marty Heires, Wal-Mart spokesman.

CBAI has initiated legislation in Illinois which would prevent the WalMart bank, if it is approved, from branching into Illinois. House Bill 4660, sponsored by House Financial Institutions Committee Chairman Mike Boland (D- Moline) provides that no industrial loan company or industrial bank shall be deemed to be permitted to establish or to maintain one or more branches for the purpose of conducting any banking business within this State.
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