WASHINGTON - In an effort to stem what it views as a weakening of audit and internal control systems at national banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Wednesday held a telephone briefing for more than 2,000 bankers to outline its expectations and recommendations for strengthening controls.

"We've seen significant slippage in the quality of audit and internal control functions industrywide," said Mark O'Dell, the deputy comptroller for core policy. Though slack procedures "haven't yet compromised the soundness of institutions," he said, the agency is sufficiently concerned to start taking preemptive action.

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