The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has made it easier for foreign banks to open federally chartered U.S. branches.

Under a rule published in Tuesday's Federal Register, foreign banks won't have to submit separate applications to the Comptroller's Office and the Federal Reserve Board. Instead, the bank can use the Fed's form to satisfy both agencies.

The new rule, which takes effect July 1, also implements a number of foreign bank provisions in the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Act. The 1994 law prevents uninsured foreign banks from accepting initial deposits of less than $100,000 from most customers.

The rule exempts foreign nationals, non-residents, foreign businesses, and U.S. companies that either are publicly traded or have more than $1 million in gross annual revenues.

The final rule provides federally chartered foreign bank branches up to five years to phase out deposits banned by the new rule.

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