West Virginia is expected to authorize its state banks next week to sell insurance from small towns.

The state's seven-member Board of Banking will meet Monday to decide whether the "wild card" law giving state banks virtually the same powers as national banks overrides another state law barring affiliations between banks and insurance companies.

Banking Commissioner Sharon G. Bias said she expected the panel, of which she is chairwoman, to allow state banks to act as small-town insurance agents.

"It is important that all banks begin to be full financial services providers," Ms. Bias said in an interview Tuesday.

Next week's vote in West Virginia was prompted by the Supreme Court's March ruling in the Barnett case. The high court decided states cannot ban national banks from selling insurance in towns of fewer than 5,000 people.

Ms. Bias said giving West Virginia banks the ability to do the same is necessary if they are to compete successfully.

Pennsylvania and Vermont recently ruled that their wild card laws allow state-chartered banks to sell insurance in small towns despite anti- affiliation laws.

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