WASHINGTON — As bank failures continue to rise, federal regulators are stepping up efforts to ease access for private-equity firms and other nonbank companies to buy troubled institutions.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Friday that it would create a "shelf charter" to help private-equity firms receive preapproval for bank charters. Companies that are approved would be able to participate in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s bidding process for failing institutions.

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