WASHINGTON - A fair-housing advocacy group has filed a protest against the planned $33 billion merger of Chase Manhattan Corp. and J.P. Morgan & Co., claiming that Chase engages in predatory lending and fails to offer adequate retail banking services in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

Inner City Press/Community on the Move criticized Chase for closing branches after its acquisition by Chemical Banking Corp. in 1996 and after an earlier merger. The group also claimed that Chase denies prime credit to qualified minority borrowers but targets minority communities for subprime loans through its Chase Funding subsidiary.

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