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Consumer Watchdog Critical Of Huntington/FirstMerit Merger

A consumer watchdog group is challenging Columbus-based Huntington Bancshares' proposed merger with Akron-based FirstMerit. The Inner City Press/Fair Finance Watch tells the Federal Reserve a plan to close 107 branch banks as part of the deal will hurt consumers and small-business owners. Fair Finance also says Huntington has poor record of home and refinance loans for minorities. The 3.4 billion dollar merger annouced in January awaits regulatory approval. Huntington has said the closings will not hurt consumers because of overlap between the two companies.Fair Finance says many of the closures would be in moderate and low-income communities.

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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