WASHINGTON - A recent proposal by the banking agencies to set information technology and computer security standards could give banks and thrifts a competitive edge, according to regulators trying to draw industry attention to the plan.

Jennifer Dickerson, the director of technology risk management for the Office of Thrift Supervision, said a highly secure computer system could give banks an advantage over technology firms hungry to expand into financial services, and could instill in consumers more confidence that the industry is safeguarding their confidential information.

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