Three big banks issued subordinated debt last week, taking advantage of a rare period of stability in the bond market.

Citicorp started off the week with a $250 million issue of subordinated debt, due June 15, 2006. The notes were given a coupon value of 7.75% and priced at par, or 85 basis points more than comparable Treasuries.

First Bank, a unit of First Bank System Inc., issued $100 million of subordinated bank notes due June 15, 2004.

The notes were given a coupon of 7.55% and priced at 99.722 to yield 7.59%, or 68 basis points more than comparable Treasuries.

On Friday, BankAmerica issued $250 million of 7.625% subordinated notes, due June 15, 2004, priced at 99.622 to yield 7.68%.

It was the most activity by banks in a number of weeks.

"Anytime you see the market settle down here for a day or two, it is a good opportunity to come in and issue," said Ray Warner, vice president of Salomon Brothers Inc. Corporate issues in general have been up, he said, and the trend is expected to continue next week as companies try to lock in the stable, low interest rates.

Also last week, Norwest Corp. issued $150 million of senior notes, SunTrust Banks Inc. issued $200 million of floating-rate notes, and CoreStates Financial Corp. and its CoreStates Capital Corp. unit registered a shelf offering for $1 billion of securities.

CoreStates said in its Securities and Exchange Commission filing that proceeds from the offering would be used to extend credit to subsidiaries and affiliates. The affiliates will use the proceeds for acquisitions and repayment of commercial paper.

The registration covers debt securities and warrants of CoreStates Capital as well as CoreStates Financial common shares, preferred stock and preferred stock warrants, according to the filing.

Underwriters include Merrill Lynch & Co., CS First Boston, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Lehman Brothers, J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., and Smith Barney Shearson.

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