LATHAM, N.Y. — Wal-Mart's planned expansion of 1,000 "Money Centers" across the U.S. deserves more than careful scrutiny from credit unions because of its implications on the underbanked, according to the head of the New York State Credit Union League.

"Why would consumers want to cash their checks at Wal-Mart and be charged a fee?" asked William J. Mellin in a President's Message entitled, "CUs Can Better Serve the 'Unbanked'" appearing in the trade group's weekly newsletter.

In fact, wrote Mellin, the very audience Wal-Mart is now reaching and plans to target with its limited "but fee based" check cashing facilities raises concerns to CUs about future membership growth and how CUs distinguish their community role.

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