Magazine article American Banker

Bipartisan Support to Ban Nonfin'l ILCs: Frank: Says FDIC Approval of Wal-Mart Charter Would Hasten Action

Magazine article American Banker

Bipartisan Support to Ban Nonfin'l ILCs: Frank: Says FDIC Approval of Wal-Mart Charter Would Hasten Action

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- There is strong bipartisan support in Congress to bar commercial companies like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. from owning industrial loan companies, Rep. Barney Frank said.

Action in Congress would be hastened if the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. approved Wal-Mart's application, the Massachusetts Democrat said in an interview Monday. The retailer applied for deposit insurance last July for an ILC it is trying to charter in Utah.

"It's been decided, I think among us, that there aren't going to be any more ILCs" like the one Wal-Mart has proposed, Rep. Frank said. "It's not Wal-Mart-specific. What Wal-Mart did, because they are so prominent, is they surfaced the issue."

Rep. Frank and Rep. Paul Gillmor, R-Ohio, sponsored an amendment last year to a regulatory-relief bill that would have prevented companies earning less than 85% of their revenues from banking activities from obtaining an ILC.

"I know there is pretty broad consensus on our committee on it," Rep. Frank said Monday. "We'll have to wait and see what the FDIC does."

Wal-Mart has agreed to testify before Congress on its application and will appear at a hearing the FDIC plans to hold. The Bentonville, Ark., company has promised to use the charter only for back-office card processing and not for retail banking. Supporters note that Target Corp., one of Wal-Mart's competitors, has had an ILC license since 2004.

Rep. Frank is in synch with Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., the chairman of House Financial Services' financial institutions subcommittee, who in an interview last week said federal oversight of ILCs is insufficient. …

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