The government granted deposit insurance Tuesday to Compubank, the first virtual national bank.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board unanimously approved an insurance application from the Houston-based start-up provided it receives final clearance to open from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

By March, Compubank plans to offer deposit products and electronic bill payment over the phone and through customers' personal computers. The OCC in late August agreed to charter Compubank as long as it convinces examiners that its computer systems are secure.

Two other virtual institutions exist but hold thrift charters.

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