Congress may be on the verge of authorizing a bundle of products and services for banks, but some bankers are wondering how useful the new activities will be.

That's not because anyone thinks new securities and insurance powers are inconsequential. For most banks, they are enormously important. But just being able to offer insurance through a subsidiary that has no connection with - or worse, lives under a forced separation from - the insured institution won't permit banks and thrifts to become the kind of all- purpose financial services companies they have their hearts set on being.

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