NEW YORK -- Two community groups have challenged Bank of New York Co.'s plan to buy 63 branches from Barclays Bank.

East Harlem Interfaith and Inner City Press/Community On the Move filed challenges to the acquisition with state and federal banking regulators on Monday.

Bank of New York's lending policy "ignores the city's poorest, mostly minority neighborhoods," the groups said.

Response Due Soon

Bank of New York expects to file a response with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York within a week, a bank spokesman said. He declined to comment on the charges, but noted that the bank has received "satisfactory" ratings from regulators after Community Reinvestment Act exams.

Bank of New York said in May it planned to buy the branches and $2.2 billion of assets from the New York subsidiary of Barclays Bank PLC, which has $3.2 billion of assets. The deal was expected to close next month.

Most of the branches are in the suburbs of New York City. Bank of New York itself has no branches in the Bronx, upper Manhattan, or Brooklyn.

Advertising Cited

The protesters contend that the bank should serve those neighborhoods because it advertises in newspapers distributed there and offers deposit products that can be bought over the telephone.

"We are asserting that they seek to draw customers in those area," said Richard Marsico, a professor at New York Law School, who filed the challenge for East Harlem Interfaith. "Bank of New York has delineated its CRA lending community in a way that excludes the bulk of the low-income minority groups in New York City."

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