SUPERMARKETS ENTERED the financial-service arena this year in ways as varied as the retailers themselves.
Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., began the year by seeing its application to start an industrial loan company — a banking entity owned by a non-bank — stalled for at least a year by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s refusal to back it.
The retailer followed this blow by withdrawing its application and, in June, aggressively embarking on a financial-service program, installing 1,000 MoneyCenter departments for access to low-cost services.
In February, Kroger Co., Cincinnati, launched its Personal Finance product line including home loans, mortgages and more.
Meijer reported its gradual expansion of service offerings since introducing a Meijer private-label credit card in spring 2004.
Other, smaller retailers offer services that suit their customers. H.E. Butt Grocery Co., San Antonio, sells a range of insurance through its H-E-B Insurance agency. Spartan Stores, Grand Rapids, Mich., offer pet insurance for dogs and cats through PetFirst Healthcare.