A green light from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp

October 19, 2011 12:00 AM
A green light from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp

Wal-Mart is not welcome in the banking sector in the United States. A green light from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) is far from certain that yesterday was a final day of hearings. The US regulator, who control the activities of non-financial business loans and has the power to authorize the world leader in the distribution to engage in this activity, will not decide before a few months.

A Wal-Mart Bank give perhaps the most modest of Americans access to financial services which are today denied but the arrival of the largest private employer in the world on a new sector fears that it imposes methods, deemed brutal, who made his success in the distribution. As commercial banks, unions, associations of consumers and political man are together against the United States.

The ambitions of Wal-Mart in finance actually date back to 1999. At the time, the Distributor intended to engage in a genuine banking activity including the financing of loans. To a virulent opposition, Wal-Mart, since then, reviewed its ambitions downward.

The Bank that the Distributor aims to create today, and which it seeks certification to the FDIC, would limit its activities to the processing of payments by credit cards in its hypermarkets. The Distributor has calculated that he could lower the cost of its transactions from 2 to 1 of their amount if he was instead of a bank to its customers in relation to operators such as Visa or MasterCard. "We will not bank branches open, a point that is all," is today annoys Jane Thompson, head of Wal-Mart financial services. However, it could be forced to promise to request a new license if the group planned to engage in fundraising activities. Distributor is especially difficult to see why it put his way that the Act allows some non-banking companies to exercise some trades of Bank. General Motors, General Electric, or even rival distributor Target were thus allowed to enter the Bank, including in lending activities. Only, that is. Wal-Mart opponents have distribution giant will not limit its activity to the processing of transactions. "Nobody does believe them", explained the skipper of a Bank of the "Wall Street Journal" North Dakota.

A risk to the sector

Commercial banks could suffer from competition from Wal-Mart therefore call for the separation of banking and industrial professions listed in the Act since the Glass - Steagall Act of 1933. They believe that Wal-Mart, which would be supervised by the FDIC, not by the Fed, would weigh a risk on the US financial system, especially on the deposit insurance system.

For their part, unions do not want to see tumbled down in a new sector deemed business treat employees with little respect and hunting to trade unions. Consumer associations finally evoke the "dubious character" of Wal-Mart, which would make him "unfit to engage in banking activities." "Against" have their support for the Congress in Washington.

However, the debate is more complicated than it seems. Since 1999, with the vote Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in the wake of the mégafusion between Travelers and Citibank, banks could engage in insurance and market activities. The border between the Bank and trade has become more blurred. Some are poorly today what principle of network banks could oppose the arrival of a new competitor. In addition, some specialists meet consumer associations and unions that Wal-Mart would lower the price of banking services for the benefit of consumers. Engaged in an operation of seduction and change of image for a few months, Wal-Mart will not deprive these arguments.