U.S. Rep Questions Wal-Mart Banking Plans: N.Y. Times

An Ohio representative is planning to release information on Thursday that suggests Wal-Mart Stores'ambitions into consumer banking may extend beyond what the retail giant had previously disclosed, The New York Times reported.

The information, in the form of an e-mail message sent by a Wal-Mart employee, suggested that the company was laying the groundwork to offer its own banking products, the Times said. Wal-Mart has long insisted that it was not interested in branch banking but was looking to use the bank as a way to save money.

But Rep. Paul E. Gillmor, R-OH, said he was concerned that the undated e-mail message suggested that Wal-Mart was telling its tenants, some of which are retail banks, that it was reserving the right to become a full-service bank, including the underwriting of mortgages, the Times reported.

"There is nothing new here," the spokeswoman, Mona Williams, said in the Times. "While we recently updated language in our leases, similar language has been in our agreements for at least five years."

No other comment was immediately available from the retailer.