Barnett Banks of Jacksonville, Fla., is battling efforts by the Department of Justice to sign on to a fair lending agreement that would impose onerous government intrusion onto the institutions business activities.

The issue is important to banks and their mortgage lending affiliates for many reasons, one of which is that the conflict boils down to different interpretations of the same information by specialists hired by both sides. In fact, the conflict could be called the Battle of the Numbers Crunchers.

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