WASHINGTON — Opposition to Citigroup Inc.’s acquisition of Associates First Capital Corp. continued to mount Wednesday as another consumer group, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, petitioned federal regulators to block the merger.

“This is the perfect opportunity for the regulators to finally do something more than just talking about the predatory lending problem,” Maude Hurd, president of Acorn, said in a press statement. “At the very least, they need to take adequate time to consider the community’s views, and to hold a public hearing.”

Reiterating the concerns other consumer activists have expressed in recent weeks, Acorn urged the regulators to delay a decision on the merger application until the Justice Department completes its investigation of Associates’ lending practices.

The consumer group also noted that Associates National Bank received a “needs to improve” Community Reinvestment Act rating from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency during its most recent exam. Without regulatory action, Associates’ lending practices would not improve under Citigroup’s direction, the group said.

Acorn filed its protest with the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the OCC.

The Greenlining Institute and Inner City Press/Community on the Move have also expressed their opposition to the deal.

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