By  on April 10, 2006

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., fending off a barrage of criticism and concern from Capitol Hill lawmakers to local banks, went on the defensive at a federal hearing Monday in its bid to open an industrial bank in Utah, insisting it is trying to save money by processing its own credit card, debit card and electronic check transactions.

The world’s largest retailer filed an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to set up an industrial loan corporation to handle processing of electronic payments for its stores. Wal-Mart currently pays a third-party bank to process its electronic payments and maintains it could save millions of dollars if it took over processing through its own bank.

But Wal-Mart’s application sparked a firestorm of controversy and prompted the FDIC, which has received 2,900 comment letters, to hold two sets of hearings — the first in Arlington, Va., Monday and today and a second in Overland, Kan., on April 25.

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