by Tom aka Rusty Rustbelt
Consumer Finance: Let Wal-Mart be a Bank
One of the side effects of the “great recession” is damage to credit records and banking relationships for many people who get in financial trouble. Many of them will have trouble reestablishing banking relationship (that the banks caused the recession is irrelevant, of course) because the bank computers have them on a reject list, even for a savings account.
Several years ago Wal-Mart starting actively talking about becoming a bank, and the banking industry and their lobbyists went all postal insane on Congress (some Wal-Marts have a Wood Forest bank branch).
Truth is, for many people, the customer service counter at WM is already their de facto bank. They use it to pay bills, transfer money, cash checks, and use prepaid debit cards and gift cards for many purposes.
So, since Wal-Mart is already a de facto bank for millions, why not let it be a bank? The other banks do not want the business anyway.
(PS: some academic research I did a few years ago leads me to believe WM plays a major role in transferring money from undocumented workers to Mexico, although WM denied in writing the possibility of such transfers, while running a discount special on transfers to Mexico!)