WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve Board on Monday announced that it will hold three public hearings to discuss how the central bank can use the Home Equity and Protection Act of 1994 to curb predatory lending.

“There has been rapid growth in subprime lending in the last few years,” Fed Governor Edward M. Gramlich said. “Most of this has been positive … but there have also been some abuses. The difficulty is that we don’t want to squelch the growth, but we do want to do what we can to stop the abuses.”

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