Washington Mutual Inc. chairman Kerry Killinger on Friday said Congress should preserve the unitary thrift charter.

"Congress must not take a giant step backward by harming the charter that ensures consumers continue to have the broadest flexibility in meeting their banking needs," Mr. Killinger said at a conference in Salt Lake City sponsored by Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah.

"Instead, Congress should focus its attention on expanding the powers and flexibility accorded to commercial banks and their holding companies."

The financial services industry is too diverse to have a single charter, he said. Washington Mutual holds a unitary thrift charter.

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