The House approved a bill Wednesday that would make it easier for state-chartered banks to branch across state lines.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Marge Roukema, R-N.J., would allow state- chartered banks to use powers granted by their home states even when they branch into other states. However, these activities would be limited to those permitted to national banks.

"This is a tremendous demonstration of Congress' commitment to the dual banking system," said Neil Milner, president of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors. "Today's vote will provide state-chartered banks with the certainty and authority they need to operate across state lines in this new interstate branching environment."

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse D'Amato is expected to introduce a similar bill shortly.

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