WASHINGTON A Bronxbased community group is attempting to thwart a proposed merger between Dime Bancorp Anchor Bancorp, both in New York.
Inner City Press/Community on the Move has filed a complaint with the office of Thrift Supervision, saying the two institutions violated the Community Reinstatment Act by failing to meet the banking needs of the Bronx.
Dime senior vice president David J. Totaro said he was surprised by the complaint.
"We don't think it is justified," Mr. Totam said. "Dime stands behind its record."
The two thrifts announcment the merger in early July, saying it would create a $20 billion-asset institution and put them "in the ballpark" with the city's moneycenter banks.
Inner City Press has used the regulatory merger-approval process effectively to obtain services for the Bronx.
In just the past three weeks, Marine Midland and Republic New York Corp. each agreed to lend $15 million in the borough and to open loan production offices there to scale CRA charges.
The group chimed in its Dime/Anchor complaint that the Dime Savings Bank of New York subsidary receives 20 times more home refinancing loan applications from whites than from Hispanics.
It also charged that the limited amount of business the thrift does in the borough occurs in the "more affluent and less minority" northern and eastern sections.
Dime only received nine home mortgage applications from census tracts in the predominantly minority south Bronx, the complaint stated.
Anchor Savings Bank only makes 5% of its Bronx loans in the south Bronx, Inner City Press charged.
The rest are to the higherincome, white parts of the borough, the complaint stated.
Mr. Totaro said the soon-tobe released 1994 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data will show that Dime, which scored "outstanding" on its latest CRA exams: has corrected many of the problems Inner City Press cited.
The bank tried to settle the complaint by agreeing to specify that the entire borough is within its CRA service area, though the combined installation would operate only one branch there, he said.
And it was gang to increase the number of loan officers assigned to the area, he said.
But he said the community group's executive director, Matthew Lee, unexpectedly broke off communications last week.