Charter One Mortgage Corp., a subsidiary of Charter One Financial Inc., pledged to lend $1 billion to low- and moderate-income borrowers.

Another subsidiary, Equity One Credit, will develop a procedure to refer all retail loan applicants with credit histories better than subprime to the Charter One's regular retail loan originators for normally priced loans.

Equity One will also provide credit counseling information to all applicants, and pay for initial credit counseling for borrowers who fall 31 days past due. The unit will also take a second look at every loan offered in low-income areas to ensure fair and consistent pricing.

"We applaud Charter One for addressing these issues," said Matthew Lee, executive director of Inner City Press/Community on the Move, a fair- lending activist group.

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