WASHINGTON - Bank of America has become the first in what industry observers expect will be a wave of banks seeking to take advantage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 by relocating their insurance operations to their headquarters cities.

In a Dec. 7 letter released Tuesday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Bank of America requested permission to convert its insurance subsidiary, Banc of America Insurance Services Inc., from an operating subsidiary to a financial subsidiary.

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