Consumer advocate Ralph Nader is admonishing Washington unions for not moving their business to the District of Columbia branch of Amalgamated Bank of New York.

The $2.2 billion-asset bank, owned by a New York-based textile workers union, opened a branch in the capital last May. But it has attracted only $20 million of deposits.

In a letter to union officials in Washington, Mr. Nader said he was shocked to learn that Amalgamated has been unable to attract more business from their ranks.

"Was it too much for the bank to expect that the unions would not only place substantial, diverse accounts with their bank, but would also vigorously urge thousands of their local rank and file to open or shift their accounts there?" Mr. Nader wrote.

He also asks "why you prefer to stay with the larger commercial banks, whose charges are outrageous, services so impersonal, and profits so concentrated at the top of the wealthiest classes."

The letter came as a surprise to Gabriel P. Caprio, president and chief executive officer of Amalgamated. He said he appreciated the help in drumming up business, but he painted a much rosier picture of the branch's progress. "We will take help wherever we can get it," he said, but "the fact is we are very pleased with the branch's growth."

Mr. Caprio said that Amalgamated has already won some business from Washington unions, and he said he expects more.

"We have heard from some who assure us that they will move over deposits as soon as they mature," he said.

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