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FYI: The New York State Banking Department has approved HSBC’s $14.2 billion purchase of Household International, a mortgage lender that all but serves as the poster child for predatory lending. In October, Household settled suits filed by 20 state attorneys general, agreeing to pay millions of dollars to borrowing fraud victims. This is the sort of record that caused activists such as Matt Lee of Inner City Press to protest the merger, noting HSBC’s own less-than-stellar lending record in New York minority neighborhoods. Other activists, however, hope that HSBC’s ownership will help insure speedy payments from Household’s settlement. In other banking news, New York State Banking Superintendent Elizabeth McCaul resigned Monday after eight years in the post, citing personal reasons. Having recently given birth, McCaul is the mother of seven children. [4/2/03]