Letting companies like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and American Express Co. obtain bank charters adds another wrinkle to conducting business in these tough times by intensifying deposit pricing competition, some bankers say.

"This is the least appropriate time to introduce nonbanking competition into the banking environment," Joseph R. Ficalora, the chairman and chief executive of the $32.1 billion-asset New York Community Bancorp in Westbury, said in an interview Monday. "This puts more pressure on margins and it will cause a significant decrease in profitability for traditional banks."

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