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.

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