WASHINGTON - CoreStates Bank and Industrial Bank of Washington are the latest institutions to win permission to form multistate banks operating under a single charter.

Both moves were authorized under a legal loophole that allows national banks to move their main offices 30 miles or less - even across state lines - and operate their former headquarters as a branch.

The moves were announced last month by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

CoreStates won permission to move its main office from Philadelphia to Ewing Township, N.J., and merge with CoreStates New Jersey National Bank, which is headquartered there. Both are subsidiaries of CoreStates Financial Corp., headquartered in Philadelphia.

CoreStates, with $21.8 billion of assets, runs 256 offices in Pennsylvania. New Jersey National, with $6.3 billion of assets, runs 144 branches in New Jersey. They will be combined into one bank with branches in both states.

Separately, Industrial Bank of Washington last week won preliminary approval to move its headquarters from the nation's capital to suburban Oxon Hill, Md. It will keep its former office as a branch and change its charter to a national bank in the process.

The $228 million-asset bank's new name will be Industrial Bank National Association.

Further clarifying how banks can use the 30-mile rule, the comptroller's office also announced last week that banks who use the loophole may keep their current directors.

In response to a query from First Fidelity Bancorp. - one of the pioneers of using the rule to consolidate operations - the OCC said the bank's board still meets the requirement that its members be from the state, "in which the association is located."

The $33.4 billion-asset bank moved its Philadelphia bank to New Jersey, then leapfrogged into Maryland. Its main office landed in Elkton, Md., a town of 6,468 people with a reputation as a spot where couples go to elope.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.