Opening a two-day interagency meeting on bank supervision, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Ricki Helfer said regulators must do a better job working together.

"We may travel by different paths, but as banking supervisors we should be going in the same direction," Ms. Helfer said.

Conflicting signals from the agencies could confuse the industry and result in unsafe banking practices, she said.

"Never has it been more important for us to work together than today," she said. "Never has it been more critical for us to set one consistent, sound, appropriate, reasonable, and moderate course for banking supervision than today."

Ms. Helfer also urged 130 officials from the FDIC, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Office of Thrift Supervision, and Federal Reserve Board to chart a middle road between finding fault everywhere and letting problems go unaddressed.

"Bank regulators have one of the few jobs in the world where we can be described as flat-footed Keystone Kops one year and 'regulators from hell' the next," Ms. Helfer said.

This is the first examiner summit since 1991.

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