An article by Thomas Vartanian on the multiple and disparate state laws on digital signatures ("Multiple Legal Setups Imperil Electronic Commerce," July 9, page 11) posed a question that has arisen in other banking environments for decades: What is the most effective relationship between federal and state regulation?

Should federal regulation defer to the states? Or should federal regulation preempt the state or permit only certain types of state regulation, for example, that which provides greater protection for consumers?

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