WASHINGTON - House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach blasted the comptroller of the currency on Thursday, accusing him of intimidating bank presidents in an effort to maintain regulatory turf.

"It has come to my attention that in recent weeks as comptroller you have been personally intimidating presidents of national banks and forcefully suggesting that they ... support the OCC perspective on Glass- Steagall reform," Rep. Leach said in a six-page letter to Comptroller Eugene A. Ludwig.

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