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LAS VEGAS — Reaffirming its role in helping the underbanked in its stores, a top financial executive of Wal-Mart Stores has expanded on the retailer’s claims that part of its mission in chartering a Utah industrial loan bank is aimed at filling a void left by financial institutions.

Addressing both bank and CU executives here recently for BAI’s annual Retail Delivery conference, Jane Thompson, president of Wal-Mart Financial Services, said the ILC bid “has put a cloud over our in-store bank program”, but the overall goal is to serve customers who would not otherwise be able to obtain financial services at all. In her speech to a standing room only audience, she noted that up to 20% of U.S. families are unbanked including 70% of people who make less than $35,000 and many of these are Wal-Mart customers.

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