called for regulators to impose a moratorium on big bank mergers. In letters and phone calls to members of Congress and regulators, the coalition, which represents 648 community groups, asked lawmakers to request a General Accounting Office study of how mergers affect the delivery of banking services to low-income consumers. Until the study is complete, regulators should not approve any mergers involving banks with more than $10 billion of assets, the group said. "Congress must address its oversight responsibilities and ensure that so-called financial modernization doesn't result in the American system of banking evolving into a robber baron-like system," said the group's chairman, Gene Ortega, in a prepared statement. John Taylor, its executive vice president, also questioned whether megamergers are in the interest of shareholders. "These past five years have been the most profitable in the history of American banking," he said in a prepared statement. "Why the rush to not only fix something that isn't broken, but instead is doing extremely well?"

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