The path has been cleared for national banks to sell annuities anywhere in Texas. Texas Insurance Commissioner Elton Bomer said he will not appeal a recent court decision allowing national banks to sell annuities regardless of state law.

U.S. District Judge James R. Nowlin last week refused to reconsider a case in which the Texas Bankers Association sued Mr. Bomer for barring banks from selling annuities anywhere except in small towns.

Judge Nowlin's refusal opened the door for Mr. Bomer to appeal the case. However, in a written statement issued Monday, Mr. Bomer said he will "respect Judge Nowlin's decision." "We will now be licensing banks to sell annuities without regard to the town of 5,000 limit," Mr. Bomer said. "I expect banks to live up to the standards we set for all licensees."

The decision does not erode state insurance regulators' authority to supervise bank annuity sales, Mr. Bomer warned. "The only issue before the court was bank sales of annuities, and I think that those trying to read in any deeper meaning to this case are mistaken," Mr. Bomer said.

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