WASHINGTON - The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is allowing national banks to invest in the stock market indirectly to hedge employee benefit costs.

In guidelines sent to bankers last week, the Comptroller's Office outlined the limited circumstances in which national banks may purchase corporate life insurance policies whose premiums are invested in the stock market. Previously, premiums on policies covering key bank executives could be invested only in money market assets, Treasury securities, and other bank-eligible investments.

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