Charging that First Union Corp. discriminates, the Coalition for Community Investment on Wednesday asked Washington residents to close their accounts unless the company increases lending to minorities.

The coalition already has attracted support from scores of churches and condominium associations, and the D.C. Housing Authority has pledged to withdraw $5 million from First Union.

Zina Greene, an investigator for the coalition, said the group hopes the threat of a sizable loss of deposits will force First Union officials to meet with activists to devise ways to expand lending to minorities. If not, the group will ask consumers to withdraw their funds. "They are just a commodity," she said. "We can bank with any bank."

A First Union spokeswoman did not return calls for comment.

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