The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has entered into an agreement with Maine regulators to expedite investigations of referrals and consumer complaints about national banks."We hope this is the first of many" OCC-state agreements, OCC Chief Counsel Julie Williams told a Consumer Federation of America conference. The OCC and the states should be working together to combat predatory lending instead of fighting over the comptroller's authority to regulate national banks and pre-empt state consumer protections laws, she said. It is "so frustrating" to hundreds of OCC employees to "hear our motives impugned or our commitment to consumer protection questioned," she said. Self-Help president Martin Eakes charged that the OCC is undermining state predatory lending restrictions while allowing national banks and their mortgage subsidiaries to charge high prepayment penalties. "The OCC just doesn't get it on the issue of predatory lending," he said at the CFA conference.

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