WASHINGTON - A coalition of more than two dozen community groups has protested Fleet Financial Group's planned merger with Shawmut National Corp., charging that the bank ignores low-income communities in upstate New York.

"Fleet has offered far fewer products, relatively fewer loans, and has generally been strikingly less focused on its communities in New York State then in other states in which it operates," the New York State Reinvestment Alliance said in its Sept. 12 protest under the Community Reinvestment Act.

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