House lawmakers appear split on whether plans by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., The Home Depot Inc. and other non-financial firms to acquire federally insured lenders pose a threat to the banking system.

As a consequence, it appears unlikely that Congress will throw a roadblock in front of Home Depot’s plan to buy EnerBank USA from Jackson, Mich.-based CMS Energy Corp. or Wal-Mart’s petition for federal permission to get into the banking business too. Both retailers have applications pending with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for authority to operate what are known as industrial loan companies, a controversial type of financial institution permitted by a loophole in federal banking law.

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