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Comptroller Applauds States that Permit Competition in Financial Services

WASHINGTON — Comptroller of the Currency Eugene A. Ludwig applauded states that permit consumers to enjoy the benefits of open competition in financial services while at the same time providing appropriate consumer protections.

In particular, he pointed to Illinois, which recently enacted a comprehensive package of consumer safeguards that protects consumers against abusive insurance sales practices by all providers without putting banks at a competitive disadvantage.

"That adds up to real competition and more choice for consumers," he said in a speech to the Consumer Federation of America's annual financial services conference. "In the end, it will mean lower costs for everyone. And that is something we can all support."

In his remarks, Mr. Ludwig pointed out that home ownership depends not only upon the ability of an individual to secure financing, but also to obtain homeowner insurance. "All the budgeting and counseling, the saving and the comparison shopping, and the most accommodating lender in the world will not do the trick if affordable property insurance cannot be obtained," he said.

Mr. Ludwig said consumer organizations have expressed legitimate concerns about the cross selling of products. "No one would dispute that we need effective consumer protections to prevent unfair and deceptive practices."

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