The Office of Thrift Supervision has given federally chartered thrifts the right to offer trust services in states where they don't have branches.
"Federal thrifts with OTS approval may establish trust operations in any state that authorizes state banks, trust companies, or other corporations to act as fiduciaries," OTS Chief Counsel Carolyn Buck wrote in a March 28 opinion that wasn't released until Tuesday.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency gave national banks the same authority in December.
Ms. Buck wrote that her opinion was a natural extension of earlier OTS rulings giving thrifts permission to offer trust services in multiple states.
The thrifts' trust offices will not be able to accept deposits or make loans. Those services require full-service branches, Ms. Buck said.
She added that thrifts will be subject to the probate laws of each state where they offer trust services.
V. Gerard Comizio, a partner at the Washington law firm of Thacher, Profitt & Wood, said thrift institutions should applaud the decision. It means they can expand their trust activities interstate without having to apply to each state for permission.