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States May Block In-Store Banks: WSJ

Several U.S. states are considering legislation that would block Wal-Mart and other retailers from opening company-owned bank branches within their borders, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Wal-Mart led a strategic move for retailers to offer banking services back in 2005 when it attempted to gain a Utah bank charter under Industrial Loan Company provisions. The application triggered fierce opposition from banks, Congress and community groups and led to the preemptive attempts to stop similar applications being successful, according to the Journal.

Wal-Mart has said it wants the license for credit- and debit-card transactions and to reduce its processing costs.

"We're not interested in opening a consumer bank," a Wal-Mart spokesman told the paper.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) is expected to decide on whether Wal-Mart can go ahead with its plans to offer banking services in-store on Jan. 31. The outcome will likely influence the fate of several similar applications, the Journal reported.

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