WASHINGTON — Department store operator Nordstrom Inc. on Thursday became the latest company joining the rush to set up a federal savings and loan.
Seattle-based Nordstrom, which has 99 stores in 22 states, asked federal regulators for permission to convert its credit card operation into a thrift.
"This move strengthens our competitive position within financial services while expanding the products we can offer our customers," Kevin Knight, president of the company's credit card operation, said in a statement. "A thrift charter allows us to offer products and services that until now no other retailer has offered customers."
If the application is approved, the new thrift may offer business credit card accounts, home equity lines of credit and money market checking accounts, Knight said. Other services being considered include automated teller machine debit cards and limited mortgage lending, he added.
The savings and loan, to be named Nordstrom Financial Services, would be based in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The thrift would not have branches; business would be conducted using telephone lines and by mail. Nordstrom spokeswoman Brooke White said the S&L would initially seek business from the company's current customers.
The Office of Thrift Supervision could approve the application within a few months. The agency has a backlog of 59 pending applications to establish federally chartered S&Ls, of which 20 are from insurance companies.