Calling a Cincinnati bank's hiring practices among the worst cases of discrimination she had ever seen, a U.S. Labor Department official said that her office would take a closer look at the way banks recruit.

Shirley J. Wilcher, deputy assistant secretary of labor, said Provident Bancorp passed over 1,200 African-American, Asian, and Hispanic job seekers in the Cincinnati area in 1988 and 1989, even though they were "equally or better qualified than their nonminority counterparts." Provident is paying nearly $900,000 in a settlement.

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