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New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has been blocked from pursuing national banks for allegedly discriminatory lending practices. Southern District of New York Judge Sidney Stein last week issued an injunction sought by the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, ruling that Spitzer does not have the authority to enforce anti-discrimination laws against the banks. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency v. Spitzer, No. 05 Civ. 5636. Stein found that Spitzer’s assertion of authority to enforce the laws is pre-empted by the National Bank Act and a regulation under the act adopted by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the agency responsible for supervising the nation’s banking system. The comptroller’s office’s authority to visit and supervise the national banks, the judge found, is exclusive. The comptroller’s office sued in June seeking to block a wide-ranging investigation by Spitzer into the lending practices of the banks. Spitzer told The Associated Press that he will appeal the ruling.

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