The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio has overturned two state laws restricting banks' ability to sell insurance.
In a June 18 decision, Judge James L. Graham invalidated an Ohio law that prohibited banks from selling title insurance. He also nullified a law that required banks to sell at least 50% of their insurance to noncustomers.
The suit, filed in October, pitted Huntington National Bank, the Ohio Bankers Association, the Association of Banks-in-Insurance, and the ABA Insurance Association against the superintendent of the Ohio Department of Insurance and a number of insurance trade groups.
"It's really another defeat for the independent (insurance) agents and another victory for the consumer," said Glen J. Milesko, president of the Association of Banks-in-Insurance and chairman of Banc One Insurance Group of Milwaukee.
Ohio's insurance superintendent was unavailable for comment.
The decision was another in a series of victories for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency since 1996, when the Supreme Court decided that states may not prevent national banks from selling insurance from towns with less than 5,000 people.