ON NOV. 8, THE COMPTROLLER of the Currency approved Barnett Bank's purchase of 34 Florida branches from Glendale Federal Bank. The problem: Barnett faces scrutiny from the Justice Dept., which is looking into allegations of discriminatory lending practices. Although the comptroller gave Barnett a clean bill of health for its loans from July, 1993 through July, 1994, Justice is examining an earlier period. Justice's civil rights chief, Deval L. Patrick, says the department is discussing a settlement with Barnett; the bank says it didn't discriminate.

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