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The Chicago Tribune reports that 23 “Kmart stores in Illinois and three other markets are testing financial centers where consumers can cash checks and pay bills. Kmart joins Walmart in offering basic services to consumers who have little if any access to traditional banks.” The story notes that Walmart has money centers in about 40 percent of its 3,000 US supercenters, which are designed to cater to the roughly 10 percent of the US population that does not have banking relationships.

"We're looking at how to better utilize the real estate in our stores and to better serve our customers," said Shannelle Armstrong, spokeswoman for Kmart parent company Sears Holdings.

The story goes on: “The Kmart initiative, which also includes money transfers and money orders, is headed by Susan Ehrlich, president of Hoffman Estates-based Sears Financial Services. On Monday she was named to the Federal Reserve Board's consumer advisory council, which advises the board on its duties under the Consumer Credit Protection Act and on other matters related to consumer financial services.”
KC's View:
I still don’t have a lot of confidence in the Sears-Kmart business, but I’m beginning to think they’re going to be around longer than I expected. Maybe I was wrong....