WASHINGTON - Two government economists are challenging the newspaper reports that Attorney General Janet Reno said had sparked her department's now-famous prosecution of Chevy Chase Federal Savings Bank.

The Office of Thrift Supervision study is the latest in a recent series of critiques that dispute the notion that banks discriminate against minority loan applicants. Until these studies began to appear late last year, the evidence suggesting rampant loan discrimination was virtually unchallenged.

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