Fair-Lending Objections Rarely Successful in Blocking Deals: Bank regulators rarely block bank mergers or expansions based on fair-lending objections, a new study shows. Community groups say the statistics gathered by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, contrast starkly with claims that bank mergers are vulnerable to protests filed under the Community Reinvestment Act, a key federal fair-lending law. Of 41,311 applications by banks to merge or expand since 1989, federal regulators turned down only 17, according to the GAO. It found that only 360 of the 41,311 applications drew a protest. The report comes as House Republicans have sought this year to rewrite the act by exempting more than 90% of the nation’s banks from the law, a move the Clinton Administration strongly opposes. The legislation is pending in the House.