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TORONTO (Reuters) - Rogers Communications is applying to Canadian authorities to open its own banking unit, enabling the telecommunications company to offer its own credit cards.
Toronto-based Rogers plans to apply to incorporate a bank under the Bank Act "primarily focused on credit, payment and charge card services", said a notice posted over the weekend in the Canada Gazette, the government's official newspaper.
Rogers spokeswoman Carly Suppa said the application was specific to "niche credit card opportunities" and said company had no plans to become a full-service deposit-taking financial institution.
"While our core strengths remain in communications and media, we are always looking for more ways to deliver value to our customers," she said in an email on Tuesday.
The licensing process could take more than a year, Suppa said.
The move follows the lead of retailers Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart, and grocer Loblaw, all of which have launched their own credit cards in Canada.
Canada's credit card market has been traditionally led by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, but Toronto-Dominion Bank will challenge CIBC's leadership when it closes its acquisition of MBNA Canada's credit card portfolio early next year.
Shares of Rogers, which owns publishing and media businesses as well as Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays, fell 1.9 percent to C$37.34 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway