March 16, 2007
WAL-MART GIVES UP ON FIGHT FOR BANK
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) is pleased that Wal-Mart has withdrawn its application for an ILC and hopes that federal and state lawmakers will now pass legislation that will prevent retailers like Wal-Mart from entering the banking business and jeopardizing the nation’s economy.
Last month, the FDIC extended the moratorium on ILCs, giving Congress another year to consider whether to prohibit companies from acquiring their own banks. There is broad-based opposition to Wal-Mart’s plans, and an unprecedented number of people have registered comments with the FDIC. Just yesterday, the New York Times reported on new evidence that suggested Wal-Mart’s ambitions in banking may extend beyond what the company publicly admits.
“”This is a big victory for consumers, communities, and working people,”” said UFCW International Vice President and Director of the UFCW Legislative and Political Action Department, Michael J. Wilson. “”It’s not everyday that Wal-Mart says ‘Uncle.’ I think that they saw the controversy growing and felt tide turning against them and made the right decision to withdraw their application. But we can’t let up the pressure. We still need Congress to close the loophole by enacting H.R. 698, the Gillmor-Frank legislation. When it comes to Wal-Mart, only the law can really protect us.””
“”Local community banks and other financial institutions are critical to economic vitality and diversity. In recent years, Wal-Mart has destroyed local businesses and dismantled local economies. If Wal-Mart’s bid for a bank had been successful, the company’s economic control in these communities would have been almost complete.””
The UFCW is part of the Sound Banking Coalition which has fought Wal-Mart’s industrial loan company (ILC) application because of its interference with the historical and necessary separation between banking and commerce. A Wal-Mart-owned bank would have put a dangerous concentration of capital in the hands of one single company.
The Sound Banking Coalition is made up of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the National Grocers Association (N.G.A), the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), and the UFCW.