Subprime auto lending isn't the shady business some think it is, a former Mercury Finance Co. partner told bankers.

"I should have come up here wearing a plaid sports coat and gold chains, then torn them off, saying, 'This isn't how we do business,'" said Mitchell Kahn, president and chief executive of First Merchants Acceptance Corp., Deerfield, Ill. "But I don't own a plaid sports coat."

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