First Chicago NBD Corp. said Friday that it has agreed to lend $4.1 billion over six years to homebuyers and small businesses in low- income Chicago neighborhoods.

The agreement with the locally based Woodstock Institute is one of the company's largest community reinvestment commitments. The pledge was linked to its planned merger with Banc One Corp.

First Chicago pledged to make 40% more low-income loans in 2004 than it did in 1996, as well as 68% more loans to businesses with less than $1 million in sales, including 41% more in poor neighborhoods.

The commitment brings First Chicago's merger-related pledges to $11 billion. The company is also negotiating with Indianapolis.

First Chicago and Banc One have avoided making a large national promise, preferring smaller commitments with local community groups.

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