As more banking companies add subprime mortgage lending units, pressure is rising for a stronger regulatory response to alleged predatory lending in poor minority communities.

A report this month by the General Accounting Office, commissioned by Reps. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., noted that predatory lending issues were raised by activists in five of six bank mergers studied. The GAO called for better coordination of fair-lending laws, which are not evenly applied to banking companies and their subsidiaries.

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