WASHINGTON - The House Banking Committee's top Democrat said Tuesday that he is laying the groundwork to liberalize the commercial lending, merger, and some membership restrictions on federally chartered credit unions to keep them competitive.

"Questions of a weakened federal charter and imbalance between federal and state regulation are important issues that deserve detailed congressional examination," Rep. John J. LaFalce said in a speech at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions' congressional caucus.

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