PROSPECT HEIGHTS, Ill. - Household International Inc. said Tuesday that it would grant $3 million over three years to support financial literacy programs in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta.

Officials from the finance company have been trying to foster better relationships with community leaders in each of the cities in the wake of allegations of predatory lending practices from community groups.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a national nonprofit consumer advocacy group, said Wednesday that while it supports financial literacy, the move by Household does not address the company's "predatory" practices.

In a statement, Acorn National President Maude Hurd accused Household of trapping borrowers with good credit in high-cost loans by lending them more than the house is worth and disguises loans as open-ended lines of credit in order to evade Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act coverage.

Craig Streem, a spokesman for Household, said: "We have been responding to Acorn's allegations for many, many months, with the media as well as regulators and legislators, and we continue to feel very, very confident that we do not engage in predatory practices. I have no interest in dignifying Acorn's allegations beyond that."

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