WASHINGTON U.S. May Bill S&Ls $6B to Fund Insurer The government is working on a plan to levy a large one-time charge on thrifts - possibly totaling $6 billion - to recapitalize the Savings Association Insurance Fund. In return, banks would share the thrift industry's $780 million yearly interest payment on bonds floated to finance a portion of the S&L cleanup.

Feb. 15

18572

In a speech that took regulators by surprise, Vice President Gore accused the two independent banking agencies of resisting Community Reinvestment Act reform. Setting March 31 as a deadline for final rules, Mr. Gore last Friday reaffirmed the Clinton administration's support for the CRA.

Feb. 14

18533

Banks that conduct their own spot tests to ensure that loan officers are not discriminating against minorities need not fear self-incrimination, said Deval L. Patrick, assistant attorney general for civil rights, at the annual convention of the Independent Bankers Association of America.

Feb. 16

18625

Increasing the amount of capital that banks are free to lend, federal regulators next month will reduce the capital requirement for low-level recourse arrangements.

Feb. 15

18547 REGIONAL BANKING Banc One Names A New President

Signaling an effort to accelerate change within the company, Banc One Corp. said president and chief operating officer Donald L. McWhorter will take early retirement and be replaced by Richard J. Lehmann, head of the highly profitable Arizona subsidiary.

Feb. 14

18525

Turning up the heat in his battle to regain control of Compass Bancshares, former chairman Harry B. Brock Jr. has disclosed that First Union Corp. made a confidential offer last fall for the $9.1 billion-asset company. He said the bid was $30.71 a share, representing a 35% premium over Compass' stock price at the time.

Feb. 16

18622

Great Western Bank said it would eliminate 500 branch jobs in 1995. Analysts said the plan is part of a three-stage reorganization begun last year by the big California thrift.

Feb. 15

18540

Key Bank of New York says it has found a way to reduce customer defections that follow branch closings: holding public meetings before effecting the shutdown. The bank says the forums allow it to defuse some negative opinions.

Feb. 15

18539

Alan Kaplinsky, a Philadelphia-based lawyer recognized nationally for representing banks in class actions, has moved to a new firm amid upheaval at the one where he practiced law for 20 years.

Feb. 16

18581 COMMUNITY BANKING Circling the Wagons Against Branching

Opponents of interstate branching are making a last stand in a group of nine central and western states. This "opt out" movement could stymie the efforts of regional giants to consolidate their operations.

Feb. 15

18548

Mergers between community banks hit a record pace in 1994, with more small banks tying their futures to other small banks instead of the large regionals. And while the number of mergers is expected to drop for community banks in 1995, it will not be nearly as big a drop as for regional banks.

Feb. 13

18322

Douglas Harris, a senior official at the Comptroller's office, said interest rate and liquidity risk in bank securities portfolios is concentrated in community banks, not large regional banks. Addressing the IBAA convention, he intimated that a number of community banks, if their securities portfolios were marked to market, would be insolvent today.

Feb. 16

18616

Community banks and their customers both would benefit from proposed cuts in deposit insurance, according to bankers at the IBAA convention. Bankers should see bigger profits going forward, and customers could receive lower fees and loan rates, the bankers said.

Feb. 16

18620

Bankers in Virginia and Maryland want to knock down the walls to interstate branching - as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Virginia became the first state to completely embrace the new federal law, as its General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a comprehensive "opt-in" law.

Feb. 17

18636 SMALL BUSINESS South, Central Regions Have Lending Knack Banks in the central and southeastern regions of the country have a way with small business lending. Regulatory reports show that banks in these regions account for 41% of small loans to businesses nationwide. Banc One Corp. leads the central region, while NationsBank Corp. is No. 1 in the Southeast.

Feb. 13

Although bankers fret that the traditional branch is dying, two-thirds of banks still use their branch system as the primary way to serve small business customers, according to a survey by the Consumer Bankers Association.

Feb. 13

18292

When the Small Business Administration announced its GreenLine program, some predicted it would generate $1 billion in loans in the first year. So far, however, the revolving-line-of-credit program has generated much fewer loans - and plenty of criticism from lenders and others.

Feb. 14

18508 COMPLIANCE McColl: CRA Loans Are Good Business Hugh L. McColl, the chairman of NationsBank, said banks must continue to make community reinvestment loans no matter what the rules are. In a speech at a conference sponsored by his company, Mr. McColl said the loans are good business.

Feb. 16

18582

Lead paint may soon shape up as the biggest environmental-compliance issue. "It will be the next major crisis," said Jerry Ayers, vice president of Wachovia Corp.

Feb. 16

18589

Earnings at CFI ProServices, one of the largest compliance software firms in the country, more than doubled in 1994, to $3.4 million.

Feb. 16

18584 CREDIT UNIONS U.S. Quickly Unloads Cap Corp Investments Moving faster than expected, the government is unloading Capital Corporate Federal Credit Union's entire $1.2 billion investment portfolio. The fast selloff makes liquidation of the seized institution all but inevitable, industry and government sources said.

Feb. 17

18659

CUNA Mutual Group, the dominant insurance provider for U.S. credit unions, went to the Great North to tap a new chief executive officer. On March 1, Michael Kitchen will take the reins as president and chief executive officer of CUNA Mutual in Madison, Wis.

Feb. 13

18275

Maine bankers have opened a new front in their war against credit unions: the state Legislature. The Maine Bankers Association has started pushing drafts of two bills intended to stymie credit union growth.

Feb. 13

18274 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs AAA Driving to Be Bigger Banking Force The American Automobile Association said its board approved formation of a financial services company that will own a federally insured banking institution and enter into a strategic partnership to broaden its affinity marketing. AAA has been offering credit cards through banks since 1978.

Feb. 14

18527

Wells Fargo Bank severed its ties to Visa's Interlink network to join MasterCard's Maestro on-line debit program. The San Francisco-based bank brings 3,000 merchants and 3.1 million cards to Maestro.

Feb. 15

18552

Hypercom Inc. president and chief executive Albert Irato is staring down a formidable opponent in the transaction terminal market - Verifone Inc. While sales are growing at a healthy clip at the Phoenix manufacturer, Verifone outshipped Hypercom, 697,000 to 200,000 terminals, last year.

Feb. 16

18585

Visa reported $4.96 billion in health care volume in 1994, according to yearend statistics, while MasterCard estimated $3.7 billion. Both figures were approximately 25% above their 1993 totals.

Feb. 17

18648

SafeCard Services Inc. promoted Robert M. Frechette to president and chief executive officer of the company's core credit card registration business. Mr. Frechette, 55, had been in charge of sales.

Feb. 13

18285 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS Signet Joins Fund Rush, Buying No-Load Firm Signet Banking Corp. jumped on the mutual fund acquisition bandwagon, announcing plans to acquire the Blanchard Funds. The purchase will double Signet's mutual fund assets to $2 billion and raise its rank among proprietary fund managers from 60th to 36th.

Feb. 16

18624

In a dramatic overhaul, Citicorp created a high-level management group to oversee investment products and distribution. David J. Browning was recently named to lead the effort. The move was seen as an effort to revitalize a mutual fund sales effort that has lost some vigor lately.

Feb. 17

18658

Managing mutual funds has become a mainstream banking business. At the end of 1994, 115 banking companies managed proprietary mutual funds, and assets in those funds topped the $300 billion mark, according to Lipper Analytical Services.

Feb. 13

The Federal Reserve's decision to raise short-term interest rates by half a percentage point Feb. 1 has fueled the already hot market for certificates of deposit. In interviews, bank executives said that they expect even more money to flow into CDs and many are working to get their fair share.

Feb. 14

18526

Wells Fargo & Co., BankAmerica Corp., and Citicorp led the banking industry in sales of annuities during the fourth quarter of 1994, selling more than $1 billion of annuities combined.

Feb. 15

18543 MORTGAGES As Loan Rates Fall, Home Lending Surges A surprisingly brisk rebound is under way in the mortgage industry, and economists believe it could persist until midyear. The biggest influence is a steady decline in both short-term and long-term mortgage rates since the end of last year. Expectations are that they will stay down because inflation appears to be in check.

Feb. 14

18513

The Federal National Mortgage Association is fighting to reverse a new rule that it fears would excessively tighten regulatory scrutiny over any new activities it wants to take on.

Feb. 15

18558

Generous profit margins in home equity lending have disappeared, lenders say. In recent months, tight margins on home equity loans, and especially lines of credit, have become the rule in an industry trying to take advantage of its first boom in two years.

Feb. 17

18649

The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. has finished testing its automated underwriting system and says it can now be used commercially. The nine lenders who helped test the system are continuing to use it, and the list is expected to grow quickly.

Feb. 17

18643

CWM Mortgage Holdings, Pasadena, Calif., has hired a top executive, Gregory Bowcott, to form a unit to buy loans of lesser credit quality from other lenders.

Feb. 13

18295 TECHNOLOGY U.S. Bancorp Adding Quicken to Lineup U.S. Bancorp has become the first bank in the country to align itself openly with Intuit Inc., saying it will link its computer banking service to the Quicken personal finance software. The Portland, Ore.-based banking company is expanding its home banking program, called U-Bank, to accommodate users of Intuit's market-leading finance program for personal computers.

Feb. 14

18529

Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., making its first investment banking foray into banking technology, is managing a private equity offering for Online Resources and Communications Corp. The securities firm said it also intends to take a significant investment position in Online Resources, the McLean, Va.-based provider of screen telephones and related support services for home banking.

Feb. 14

18530

The American Bankers Association is creating an on-line service for the nation's bankers. The service, developed in conjunction with a number of state trade groups, will provide electronic mail, databases, and information on legislation and regulation.

Feb. 15

18556

Affiliated Computer Services has agreed in principle to provide 10 item- processing services to 310 banks and thrifts previously served by Nationar, a New York concern that was seized by state regulators.

Feb. 16

18618 FINANCE For Banks, Risks Dim Luster of Trading Not so long ago, big trading operations were seen as perpetual money machines for banks. But after a horrific 1994, the risks of derivatives, currency, and bond trading have taken center stage. And the picture appears unlikely to change anytime soon.

Feb. 16

18626

Investor Warren E. Buffett disclosed that he has accumulated 8.3% of PNC Bank Corp.'s stock and 9.8% of American Express Co. stock. Shares of both companies surged on the news.

Feb. 15

18569

Banks keep easing credit standards and businesses are borrowing more despite the Federal Reserve's yearlong campaign to restrain credit, according the central bank's latest national survey of credit conditions.

Feb. 13

18323

Investors are beginning to shop for bargains in the depressed shares of thrift institutions, now that short-term interest rates may be near a peak. "Historically, the thrift stocks have been almost entirely interest rate plays. They usually do very well as rates stabilize," said analyst Gary Gordon of PaineWebber Inc.

Feb. 14

18536

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