New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer over the weekend called on the state's banking and insurance regulators to do a better job of protecting citizens from abusive financial practices, The Buffalo News reports.

The regulators have the power to protect people but don't exercise it, Spitzer said. "The banking department and the insurance department can do more than they have been," Spitzer said. "The agencies have not been digging as aggressively as they should have been to protect consumers. I would like to see state agencies be more aggressive in those domains."

In particular, Spitzer is concerned about check cashing and rent-to-own outlets that overcharge, along with expensive loans made against expected refunds at tax preparation stores.

In response, State Insurance Superintendent Howard Mills and Banking Superintendent Diana L. Taylor both said they were surprised at Spitzer's remarks since their agencies have cooperated with his office on a number of investigations.

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