Legislation making it easier for state banks to branch across state lines passed the House Banking Committee's financial institutions subcommittee Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by panel chairwoman 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.

The measure is supported by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, which argues state banks would increasingly switch to national charters to avoid the hassle of conflicting state laws after the Riegle-Neal interstate branching law takes full effect June 1.

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