The Glass-Steagall Act, the cornerstone of banking law for most of the 20th century, died Friday at the hands of marketplace changes and political compromise. It was 66 years old.

At 1:52 p.m. Eastern time, President William Jefferson Clinton carried out its death sentence, signing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. In addition to eliminating the Depression-era law separating commercial and investment banking, it buried another key portion of banking law that had prevented banking organizations from underwriting insurance.

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