Cash-strapped Mercury Finance Co. said it's trying to sell its insurance unit and that "several parties have expressed an interest."

The subprime auto lender, which has been in the throes of an accounting scandal, is trying to raise cash after defaulting on $315 million of commercial paper. A $50 million loan from BankAmerica Corp. to help Mercury stay afloat is due Monday.

Mercury said Salomon Brothers Inc. is marketing the unit, Lyndon Insurance Group, St. Louis, which was acquired from ITT Corp. in 1995 for $72.5 million.

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