Attorney General Janet Reno, who has called lending discrimination "one of the most important civil rights issues facing this country," has bagged her first quarry. On Dec. 13, the Justice Dept. announced that Shawmut Mortgage had agreed to settle charges that it illegally denied mortgages to qualified minority applicants. While Shawmut neither admitted nor denied the charges, the Boston company agreed to pay at least $960,000 to blacks and Hispanics who were denied loans between 1990 and 1992. Government sources indicate that Justice is pursuing similar investigations against roughly half-a-dozen other banks.
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