In the wake of attacks on Ameriquest Mortgage for allegedly predatory lending, one neighborhood activist group has rushed to the company's defense, citing its consumer-education efforts.

Last week the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now picketed Ameriquest's offices in 20 cities. The group accused the subprime home lender of deceptive lending practices, such as quoting one interest rate for a loan and then writing a much higher one on the closing documents, or wooing a borrower with a low teaser rate without disclosing that the loan is adjustable-rate.

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