WASHINGTON -- A pending Supreme Court case addressing whether banks can sell annuities will help shape congressional debate on whether to let banks underwrite municipal bonds and other securities, an attorney said yesterday.

The case, NationsBank of North Carolina v. Variable Annuity Life Insurance, revolves around an interpretation by the U.S. comptroller of the currency that annuities are not a type of general casualty life insurance and therefore may be sold by national banks in any geographic area.

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