The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled Wednesday that banks may use the so-called 30-mile rule to branch into Texas.

The New Orleans-based federal appeals court overturned a lower court decision voiding the 30-mile rule, which allows a bank to move its headquarters across state lines without giving up its existing branches.

The decision allows Commercial National Bank of Texarkana to relocate its headquarters from Texarkana, Ark., to Texarkana, Tex. The case was considered an important test of the comptroller's authority, although its practical implications are limited because a law permitting interstate branching has since taken effect.

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