WASHINGTON - National banks may soon be able to offer customers an expanded menu of insurance products, as long as the new products don't threaten safety and soundness, a top federal regulator signaled Thursday.

Julie L. Williams, chief counsel of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, hinted that the agency will look favorably on applications by banks to sell insurance products other than annuities. Banks are now limited to selling annuities and insurance in towns of less than 5,000 people.

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