Allstate is in the banking business.

The nation's largest publicly held personal insurer opened the doors of its Northbrook, Ill.-based Allstate Federal Savings Bank last week.

The company said it initially will provide electronic commerce services related to the clearing of customer premium payments. Next year the company will add personal trust, financial planning, and other services.

Each year, the bank plans to invest $15 million in urban redevelopment programs. It also wants to form strategic alliances with other financial institutions to create community programs, Allstate said.

Thomas W. Buckley is the bank's president and chief executive officer; Beth Brown has been named general counsel; Linda Nolan is community development officer; Christopher Martin is director of operations; Claire Rosati is chief trust officer; and Hank Hakewill is head of marketing.

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