ATLANTA -- Home Depot stores confirmed last week it is following the lead of Wal-Mart and withdrawing its application for an industrial loan company charter in Utah.
"It simply did not fit into our corporate strategy of concentrating on our core retail business," said a spokesman for the home improvement chain.
Wal-Mart, under sharp attack from banks and congressional critics who complained the giant retailer was unfairly mixing commerce and banking, withdrew its application for an ILC in March 2007 though high-profile legislation to close the ILC loophole has remained on the congressional agenda.
Home Depot's application to the FDIC to acquire EmerBank of Salt Lake City had been on hold since 2006, when the agency self-imposed a moratorium on processing ILC applications from commercial companies. The moratorium was set to expire on Jan. 31.
The Home Depot spokesman said the firm never intended to follow the footsteps of Wal-Mart in building any kind of banking network in stores but merely sought to serve home contractors for lending to customers on repair and remodeling. "But our strategic plan for 2008 has a different focus," said the spokesman.