WASHINGTON — Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan reignited the debate over loan-loss provisions Monday by arguing that the current crisis proves regulators were right to demand more unallocated reserves during the housing boom.

Though he never mentioned the Securities and Exchange Commission directly, Dugan's speech nevertheless appeared directed squarely at the agency, as well as bankers and their auditors. The SEC argued for years that bankers should justify and document reserves, claiming that unallocated provisions gave executives too much room to manipulate earnings.

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