What Wal-Mart Can’t Buy

New Orleans        It must be rough being the world’s largest corporation and largest employer and still having these old school institutions get in your way.  Governments are so pesky.  You would think we would have found something new in these modern times. 

Alan Greenspan, Mr. Federal Reserve and Mr. Financial Establishment, decided to oppose the backdoor end run Wal-Mart had been trying in Utah to get into banking.   This was his farewell shot as he left office.  He cleaned Wal-Mart from his “out box.”  They had applied to become an industrial bank.  WARN (www.warnwalmart.org) and ACORN both joined in vigorously opposing this attempt to get around CRA regulations and about everything else one can imagine. 

We were certainly not alone!  The FDIC indicated that they had received more than 1500 comments on Wal-Mart’s application.    Marty Gruenberg, the acting head of FDIC, has said that the FDIC would wait until there was a permanent boss at the top of FDIC, and that it was likely that there would be public hearings, given the obvious and enormous interest.

This baby is DOA for Wally’s World.  They might hang on for another number of weeks or months, but if Wal-Mart is nothing else, they are realists, and they have to see the writing on every wall — NO BANK in UTAH!

In India where Wal-Mart is leading the charge to modify the rules that bar foreign direct investment in retail (see www.indiafdiwatch.org), even when the government ignited a firestorm by allowing “single brand” FDI to increase investment, they were explicit and careful to broadcast that this shift did not include Wal-Mart and its big-box buddies.

This fight will play out for a long time and at the end they may win, which is what big companies know, but there are going to be lots of bruises along the way.  We all need to keep swinging.

Marty Gruenberg, the acting head of the FDIC
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