While he continues to oppose financial reform legislation, consumer advocate Ralph Nader is pushing several amendments including a provision that would prevent the 20 largest banks, securities firms, and insurance companies from merging.

During a June 24 hearing on the bill, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato asked Mr. Nader to suggest ways the government could limit its liability if a huge financial company fails.

In addition to preventing the biggest players in each field from combining, Mr. Nader wrote in a July 9 letter released this week, the Senate ought to outlaw the use of taxpayer dollars, deposit insurance funds, or any emergency bailout money to rescue one of the newly formed financial holding companies or its affiliates.

A third Nader amendment would hand the Federal Reserve Board more control over insurance companies.

The House version of the bill would permit state insurance commissions to continue supervising insurance companies that affiliate with banks. But Mr. Nader said many of the state agencies "are poorly funded, inadequately staffed, and dependent on the industries they regulate."

The Fed, he said, ought to have the authority to set capital standards and activity limits for both insurers and securities companies that affiliate with banks. "Far more preferable would be a complete rewriting of HR 10 which would coordinate the regulatory system and provide proper accountability," Mr. Nader wrote.

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