The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Wednesday gave Mellon Bank permission to sell insurance anywhere from a small town base.

In a letter to the Pittsburgh-based institution, OCC Chief Counsel Julie L. Williams said national bank insurance agents should be permitted the same marketing range and tools as an insurance agent not affiliated with a bank.

The approval mirrored one the agency sent to First Union Corp. last week, allowing the institution's agents to sell insurance with few restrictions. Like First Union, Mellon must process insurance applications and pay agent commissions from a town with fewer than 5,000 people.

But both institutions were given permission to sell and market insurance anywhere, including from bank offices.

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