After years of shunning banks, some of the nation's largest insurance companies are gearing up to peddle their wares in the bank marketplace.

The Equitable Cos. is developing a unit to sell its insurance through banks and plans to start signing up bank clients next year. Prudential Life Insurance Company of America has brought in consultants to study the bank channel and is expected to launch a significant bank program soon. And Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. is also said to be looking at sales through banks.

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