WASHINGTON - Comptroller of the Currency Eugene A. Ludwig said he opposes the idea of creating stripped-down "core banks" that invest insured deposits only in low-risk securities.

The proposal, which would allow uninsured institutions to take greater risks for higher returns, generated some interest last year during congressional debate on financial restructuring.

"I want to see how many, not how few, new services banks can provide to consumers," Mr. Ludwig said in a speech to the Association of Bank Holding Companies in Indianapolis.

In his text, released in Washington, Mr. Ludwig did not name any of the new services he wants banks to offer.

He also promised, without giving details, "to set a new direction" for his agency.

"If we do not have the courage to think boldly enough," he said, "we will continue to condemn our banking system to a slow and painful decline."

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