business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • The New York Times reports that “Wal-Mart's proposal to open a bank has sent a wave of concern through community bankers, who view the move as the first of several maneuvers that will turn the company into a financial services behemoth and drive them out of business.”

    Wal-Mart has applied to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for permission to open an industrial bank in Utah that would, if approved, be used to process credit and debit card transactions for its 3,500 United States stores. The NYT notes that this shift would save Wal-Mart “the fraction of a penny it now pays to national banks every time a shopper pays with plastic.”

    This adds up to a lot of fractions, a lot of pennies, and a likely considerable loss of business and profit for these national banks.

    The banks, however, are not focusing on this side of the argument in the debate. Rather, they have argued in their own letters to the FDIC, that this is just the first step in Wal-Mart opening retail banks, which they say would give the company unrivaled economic power, which they say would be bad for consumers.

  • Published reports in Maryland say that a new bill passed in Prince George’s County there says that big box retailers larger than 125,000 square feet cannot sell groceries.

    However, two planned Wal-Mart stores that would have been affected by the ban have instead been exempted.

    However, neither Wal-Mart nor local unions – which were to be protected by the bill – are happy. Wal-Mart continues to oppose any legislative action that limits its options, and what it says are the options of shoppers looking for a big selection and low prices. And the unions can’t seem to figure out what the bill’s purpose was if the planned Wal-Marts have been exempted.

KC's View:
Maybe you can displease all of the people all of the time.