Can banks sell annuities?

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The competition between banks and insurance companies is likely to heat up after the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision that national banks can sell annuities. Although more sophisticated than the basic savings accounts that used to dominate banking, today’s annuities are directed at the same investment needs of the customers.
The National Bank Act provides that banks may exercise “incidental powers” necessary to carry on the business of banking. The Court agreed with the reasoning that selling annuities, like lending money or taking in deposits, is incidental to banking. While banks are not allowed to sell insurance, which is protection against loss, annuities are not considered insurance under the Act.