As financial services convergence takes place, banks are selling insurance and insurers are offering bank products. Yet, in several cases where insurance agents are beginning to offer deposit accounts, loans and credit cards to their clients, they are not becoming bankers.Rather, they are providing only a limited referral role. For example, Assurance Partners Bank-opened by Indianapolis-based National Association of Mutual Insurance Cos.-is operating on a simple referral basis.

"In our model, the transaction is largely consummated with the bank, and therefore the agent doesn't have to get involved in forms and dispersements, and become familiar with another dozen or two dozen regulations that deal with consumer lending disclosures, fair credit reporting and all those things," says Dave Fronek, president of Assurance Partners Bank.

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