WASHINGTON - Activist Ralph Nader this week warned the banking industry against watering down consumer protection laws and charging customers ever-increasing fees.

"The current campaign against consumer rights and protections, the refusal of insured institutions to accept responsibility to their communities, and the preoccupation with 'fee gouging' is alienating millions of Americans," Mr. Nader wrote in a July 3 letter to American Bankers Association president Howard L. McMillan and Independent Bankers Association of America president Richard L. Mount.

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