COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Banc One Corp. said Friday that it would expand its tax-refund-anticipation loan program nationwide. The announcement followed a decision by H&R Block Inc. to drop the banking company from its refund-lending program.

Banc One said that loans made through H&R Block represented about 45% of its refund-anticipation loan volume. In the first quarter, the Ohio bank made $3 billion worth of refund loans to 2.3 million customers.

Banc One's agreement with the nation's largest tax-preparer had restricted the bank's geographic market to nine states, the banking company said.

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