Inner City Press/Community on the Move, a Bronx, N.Y.- based activist group, urged the Federal Reserve Board on Monday to reject Charter One Financial Inc.'s planned acquisition of Albank Financial Corp.

The group charged that Cleveland-based Charter One rejects minorities for credit three times more often than it does whites and has a higher percentage of loans to whites than blacks in every market where it operates. Albank, based in Albany, N.Y., settled fair-lending charges last year with the Justice Department and has a "needs to improve" Community Reinvestment Act rating, the group said.

"A combination of the two would be the worst of both worlds," wrote Matthew Lee, executive director of the group.

A spokesman for Charter One declined to comment, saying the institution had just received the CRA protest and has not had a chance to analyze it.

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