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• The Financial Times reports that Wal-Mart plans to introduce a pre-paid card designed for low-income customers who do not have bank accounts. The card will be launched with GE Money and will carry Visa branding, according to the report, which also said that Wal-Mart has conceded that regulatory realities make it unlikely that it will be able to open its own industrial bank any time soon.

FT writes that Wal-Mart is hoping that customers will use the cards as quasi-bank accounts to access a range of financial services offered by GE, its partner in such endeavors.

• Published reports say that the joint venture that Wal-Mart plans to roll out in India with Bharti Enterprises is taking longer than expected because of real estate and logistic issues. However, Bharti CEO Sunil Mittal says that the first stores in the venture should open next year as planned, and he minimized local resistance to a Wal-Mart presence in India.

"Opposition is always there,” he says. “I'm sure that as farmers and customers see the benefits of it, the resistance will go away.”

• The Wall Street Journal this morning asks the question that increasingly seems to be coming up, and that some at Wal-Mart no doubt would prefer to go away:

How long can Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott keep his job?

Citing all the various pressures on the company, from lagging same-store sales to lawsuits to ethical questions, the Journal doesn’t offer any answers to the question.
KC's View:
Though the fact that the question keeps being raised – despite the shows of support for Scott made by the retailer’s board and the Walton family – implies that Scott’s tenure could have an expiration date.