State AGs to Obama: We want more power

John O'Brien Mar. 13, 2009, 10:26am


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The nation's state attorneys general are asking President Obama for help going after national banks.

Fifty attorneys general wrote Obama Thursday seeking the reversal of a President Bush-era rule that prevented states from regulating the practices of national banks. The Bush administration's decision is partly to blame for the country's economic state, they argue.

"In protecting consumers, federal authorities should lead, follow or get out of the way," Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said.

"The Bush administration flagrantly favored national banks over consumers, exempting them from state regulation and helping set the stage for the ongoing economic meltdown."

Blumenthal said the attorneys general need to rein in predatory lending, as well as the banking and credit card practices by national banks.

The federal Office of Controller of Currency instituted new rules keeping states from filing consumer protection suits against national banks in 2004.

Last year, a federal judge said West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw's suit against Capital One was "hijacked" because Capital One switched to national bank status during it. Only the OCC can regulate its practices now.

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