Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. has joined the rush of large insurers applying for federal thrift charters.

According to a Dec. 23 application made public last week by the Office of Thrift Supervision, the insurance firm wants to charter Hartford Bank to offer trust services.

The Hartford, Conn.-based insurer, which would become a unitary thrift holding company, offers several lines of insurance as well as annuities, mutual funds, investment management, and retirement planning services.

Because the insurer applied for a limited-purpose thrift charter, it asked the OTS to exempt the institution from the Community Reinvestment Act. The thrift will not make loans or take deposits, the application said.

The OTS has approved federal thrift applications from two insurers, Travelers Group and Principal Mutual Insurance Co., since Congress began debating legislation to eliminate the charter. Eight insurers, including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and Transamerica Corp., have applications pending at the agency.

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