If there has ever been a deal that community and consumer activists would want to block, it is Citigroup Inc.'s planned acquisition of Associates First Capital Corp.

Activists have long charged that Associates engages in questionable lending practices, and Citigroup has gotten its own share of scrutiny from activists for allegedly abusive and discriminatory lending. Not surprisingly, activists called the megadeal, announced Wednesday, an alarming alliance that could lead to an increase of predatory lending to low-income and minority borrowers, and they vowed to fight it every step of the way.

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