U.S. Senate moves toward passing bill easing bank rules

WASHINGTON, March 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate voted on Wednesday to limit debate on a bill that would ease bank rules for the first time since the 2007-2009 financial crisis, setting the stage for its final passage later this week.

Senators approved the bill, which would limit the strictest rules to just a handful of the nation's largest banks while easing several rules for smaller lenders, by a vote of 67 to 31.

The bill now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives, which must pass it before it can signed into law. (Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by Sandra Maler)