New York's "wild card" banking law has been extended for two years, to Sept. 10, 2000.

The state first enacted a wild card law in August 1997, but it was to expire Sept. 10. Like similar statutes in 42 states, the law grants New York-chartered banks the same powers as federally chartered institutions.

Gov. George E. Pataki and others feared that many of New York's 180 state-chartered banks would migrate to a federal charter if the wild card law was not extended. Eight of the state's 10 biggest banks hold a state charter.

The New York State Banking Board also won the right last week to let state-chartered savings banks and thrifts engage in the insurance business to the same extent national banks can as long as they follow the same consumer protection rules covering commercial banks.

- Scott Barancik

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