NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland (Reuters) - The largest U.S. banks are "practitioners of crony capitalism," need to be broken up to ensure they are no longer considered too big to fail, and continue to threaten financial stability, a top Federal Reserve official said on Saturday.

Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Fed, has been a critic of Wall Street's disproportionate influence since the financial crisis. But he was now taking his message to an unusual audience for a central banker: a high-profile Republican political action committee.

Fisher said the existence of banks that are seen as likely to receive government bailouts if they fail gives them an unfair advantage, hurting economic competitiveness.

"These institutions operate under a privileged status that exacts an unfair tax upon the American people," he said.

"They represent not only a threat to financial stability but to fair and open competition ��� (and) are the practitioners of crony capitalism and not the agents of democratic capitalism that makes our country great," said Fisher, who has also been a vocal opponent of the Fed's unconventional monetary stimulus policies.

(Reporting By Pedro Nicolaci da Costa)

The largest U.S. banks are "practitioners of crony capitalism," need to be broken up to ensure they are no longer considered too big to fail, and continue to threaten financial stability, a top Federal Reserve official said on Saturday.

Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Fed, has been a critic of Wall Street's disproportionate influence since the financial crisis. But he was now taking his message to an unusual audience for a central banker: a high-profile Republican political action committee.

Fisher said the existence of banks that are seen as likely to receive government bailouts if they fail gives them an unfair advantage, hurting economic competitiveness.

"These institutions operate under a privileged status that exacts an unfair tax upon the American people," he said.

"They represent not only a threat to financial stability but to fair and open competition ��� (and) are the practitioners of crony capitalism and not the agents of democratic capitalism that makes our country great," said Fisher, who has also been a vocal opponent of the Fed's unconventional monetary stimulus policies.

(Reporting By Pedro Nicolaci da Costa)