WASHINGTON - Thomas J. Curry is more Clark Kent than Superman, but Massachusetts' mild-mannered banking commissioner is determined to fight the lending industry's bad guys.

Mr. Curry and his counterparts in New York, North Carolina, and other states are leading a crackdown on lenders that take advantage of unsophisticated or desperate consumers with high rates, excessive fees, and outright fraud. While federal regulators debate and study the issue, state regulators are fining violators, yanking licenses, and adopting tough new standards.

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