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Wal-Mart applied to the Canadian government for official bank status, a move that would allow the retail giant to expand financial services in the country.
The retailer's Canadian unit applied to the minister of finance to establish a bank under the name Wal-Mart Canada Bank and, in French, La Banque Wal-Mart du Canada, according to a notice on the Canadian government Web site.
Wal-Mart would have competition in the Canadian banking business; Loblaw Cos., the country's largest supermarket chain, and auto-supplies retailer Canadian Tire Corp., have each obtained charters to operate banks that offer loans through their credit-card operations.
In July, Eduardo Solorzano, ceo of Wal-Mart's Mexican unit said Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB's banking operation may be in the black by the end of 2010, which is earlier than the retailer forecast. The Mexican division offers banking for low-income consumers in branches inside Wal-Mart stores.