Deborah Lohse reports on Wal-Mart’s plan to buy Franklin Bank of California. Legislation is pending in California to prevent the purchase.
But opponents fear Wal-Mart wants Franklin as a toehold to build a network of branches offering personal and business loans nationwide — wiping out small lenders the way some gripe it has underpriced groceries, pharmacies and other small competitors in many local areas. Others fear Wal-Mart could use its future banking clout to deny loans to would-be competitors, coerce consumers to use only its own credit cards, or share private consumer data with its new financial-services arm.
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