Wal-Mart's Push Into Finance Continues : Planet Money The retailer has been expanding its financial services offerings. But regulators denied its request to buy a bank.
NPR logo Wal-Mart's Push Into Finance Continues

Wal-Mart's Push Into Finance Continues

In the past few years, Wal-Mart has been building a big finance business, opening "Money Centers" in more than 1,000 of its stores around the country.

The latest twist: Wal-Mart now has a minority ownership stake in Green Dot, a fast-growing finance company that recently applied for regulatory approval to buy a bank.

Green Dot manages the pre-paid debit cards sold at Wal-Mart, which are often used by people who don't have traditional bank accounts.

The stake was disclosed in an SEC filing earlier this month, and reported today in the FT.

Wal-Mart applied for a banking charter a few years back, but regulators rejected the request. Since then, the retailer has focused on services such as check cashing and bill pay.

Green Dot recently applied to for regulatory approval to buy a small bank; the company says it plans to offer savings accounts. Green Dot is also planning an initial public offering that's expected to raise $150 million the FT says.

The monetary value of Wal-Mart's stake in the company is unclear. But the way the stock is structured means Wal-Mart will control less than one percent of the voting power, according to the SEC filing.