A Chance For Banks To Branch Out Big

YES, THERE IS A SANTA Claus--for bankers, anyway. On Nov. 28, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced that it will allow federally chartered commercial banks to enter new businesses. Proposed rules would cut red tape and could give banks more flexibility to push into the sale of securities, among other operations. The OCC also announced that it will slash the fees it charges banks to cover examinations. Observers say the moves were prompted in part by the growing chorus of large banks that are considering switching to a state charter.