WASHINGTON - With state-by-state fights looming over new privacy laws, five financial industry trade groups have formed a unit to coordinate their defense.

The Financial Services Coordinating Council - representing the banking, insurance, and securities industries - this week unveiled its Privacy Project, which will track privacy bills in the states and provide research and legal advice to local lobbyists. The council will also try to influence federal regulators as they write rules implementing consumer privacy protections included in the new financial reform law.

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