of the Currency John D. Hawke Jr. acknowledged how hard it is for examiners to criticize lending practices when banks are making record profits.

"We have experienced some real difficulties in getting bankers and bank directors to take seriously our criticisms of structurally weak loans when those loans are currently performing well," Mr. Hawke said in a Wednesday evening speech that was released Thursday. "Yet we know that when the economy turns, these loans will experience deeper losses."

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