Leach Attacks Clinton Underwriting Plan House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach vowed an all-out fight against an administration proposal to permit securities underwriting through bank subsidiaries. The Iowa Republican said he is pleased the White House wants to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, but he insisted that new powers be housed in separately capitalized holding company subsidiaries. March 1 19360

Savings institutions face increased insurance premiums in five years if problems stemming from the expected drop in bank rates are not addressed, according to a report by the Government Accounting Office. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato and Rep. John LaFalce, D-N.Y., demanded that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. act to help the thrift industry. March 3 19457 Great Western Financial Corp., the nation's second-largest thrift company, is planning to charter two national banks in an effort to escape the high costs of thrift deposit insurance. The plans show the lengths that thrifts are willing to go avoid the looming disparity in deposit premiums between banks and thrifts. March 2 19403 The Comptroller's office prepared rules that would make it easier for banks to do business across state lines and to march into new product areas. March 3 19458 REGIONAL BANKING Compass Dissidents Press Their Attack Intensifying their effort to gain control of Compass Bancshares, dissident shareholders have sent a "fight letter" and preliminary proxy statement to the Alabama company's investors. March 2 19383

First Union Corp. agreed to buy United Financial Corporation of South Carolina Inc. for $130.5 million, while First American Corp., Nashville, agreed to pay $89 million for Heritage Federal Bancshares of Kingsport, Tenn. Feb. 27 19031

Foreign banks held $893.7 billion of onshore banking assets booked at offices in the United States, according to an American Banker survey. That represented nearly 22% of the total U.S. banking assets as of June 30 last year, a market share virtually unchanged from 12 months earlier. Feb. 28 19259 Seeking to soften the blow of imminent layoffs, CoreStates Financial Corp. is offering employees a voluntary severance package. The Philadelphia-based company plans to release details of a major consolidation plan in April. Feb. 27 19028 Saying he has a sense of "ownership" about the strategies in place at Old Kent Financial Corp., president David Wagner took on the additional title of chief executive on Wednesday. He succeeds John C. Canepa, who will remain a part of the company's senior management until August. March 2 19387 COMMUNITY BANKING 7 Thrifts May Sue Nationar's Insiders Seven of the thrifts that owned Nationar, a joint venture bank seized last month by New York bank regulators, are threatening to sue the institution's officers and directors. Feb. 27 19079

Florida Comptroller Robert F. Milligan, the nation's only elected state bank regulator, took a step to make his job an appointive one. He named a 22-member task force to review separating the regulation of banking, securities, and financial services from his duties as chief fiscal officer for the state. March 1 19304 Worried by depreciation of the securities portfolios of Minnesota- chartered banks, the state department of commerce warned banks to take a close look at their investments. Banks that suffer unusually high losses or are suspected of speculating "will receive special attention in examinations," the department said. March 1 19341 Community bankers are much more worried about losing market share than they are about regulatory burden, a survey by the American Bankers Association found. March 2 19391 COMPLIANCE OCC Watchdog Eyes High-Tech Exams Jimmy Barton, the top examiner of national banks, plans to bring more computer power to exams and more training to his 2,900 examiners. Bankers and examiners alike are sure to feel the changes. "There's going to be some pain," he says. March 2 19388 To encourage banks to self-test for lending discrimination, the Department of Housing and Urban Development - like the Justice Department - has decided not to use a bank's results against it during an investigation. March 2 19375 Formation Technologies Inc., the nation's third-largest bank compliance software company, named Joe Rose president and chief executive. March 2 19374 CREDIT UNIONS Trade Group Parley Lures 2,000 to D.C. The Credit Union National Association, the industry's largest trade group, attracted 2,000 to Washington for its government affairs conference and some lobbying for regulatory relief Feb. 27 19032

The government has found that nearly a 10th of credit unions with collateralized mortgage obligations don't know how to manage the investments. The National Credit Union Administration discovered this level of ignorance during special examinations of 304 credit unions with CMO holdings that exceeded reserves. Feb. 27 19064 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs Secured Cards Pique Big Banks' Interest Big banks are taking another look at adding secured credit cards to their portfolios. About 40 bankers gathered in New York recently for what was touted at the industry's first secured card symposium. Bankers learned from MasterCard International that secured card accounts grew 114% to 1.5 million in 1994. March 1 19325 After his first year as president and chief executive of MasterCard International, H. Eugene Lockhart seems to exude more optimism and confidence than he had going in. "From a global, market-momentum perspective, things are going great," he said in an interview. March 2 19381 Visa U.S.A. is offering issuers who participate in its cobranding program two software packages that it says will ease access to targeted information in a timely fashion. The programs, called Portfolio Manager and Targeted Marketing Service, are available through the association's VisaVue for Partners service. Feb. 27 19072 A deal with Total Petroleum Inc. makes Deluxe Data Systems Inc. the latest nonbank to deploy automated teller machines. Under terms of the agreement, Deluxe Data will deploy 266 cash dispensers in Total Mart stores throughout the central states. March 3 19445 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS Chase Plans to Offer A Menu of No-Loads In a first for a banking company, Chase Manhattan Corp. has disclosed plans to offer a cut-rate mutual fund investing service like those of some discount brokerages. The service will allow investors to buy a wide range of mutual funds from several different fund companies without paying sales commissions or transaction fees. Feb. 27 19078 Barnett Banks is overhauling its approach to marketing investment products by creating a salaried sales force to serve mutual fund customers exclusively. Feb. 28 19289 After a year of depressed sales, the mutual fund drought may be coming to end. Bankers and fund executives say they have seen pockets of improvement since the beginning of the year, particularly with stock funds. March 2 19389 The fourth quarter was relatively calm for niche companies that help banks administer and distribute mutual funds; assets handled by the top five changed little. But some believe this was merely a prelude to a storm of change. March 3 19450 While rising interest rates have most banks dusting off advertisements for deposit products, Bank of Boston is placing its faith in mutual funds. The company is spending $1 million this winter to talk up its 1784 Funds to consumers in the Boston area. March 3 19454 MORTGAGES Wells Axing 450 Jobs In Mortgage Cutback

Citing vicious competition, Wells Fargo is pulling out of mortgage originations and laying off 450 employees. The San Francisco-based bank joins a growing list of companies pulling out of entire sectors of the home-loan business. March 1 19350 Adjustable-rate mortgages continued to gain popularity in January, rising to 59% of originations from 55% the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Board. Analysts, however, predict a reversal of the trend because of recent declines in interest rates on fixed mortgages. March 2 19380 Banks are increasingly offering second mortgages with 100% loan-to-value ratios. "You might say it's risky, but we control it through our credit standards," said Charles T. Bryant of Union Planters Bank of East Tennessee. Feb. 28 19278 After pulling off back-to-back servicing acquisitions, Andrew Woodward of NationsBank Mortgage faces the task of developing loan production to balance his burgeoning servicing assets. March 1 19348 Accubanc Mortgage Corp., Dallas, has completed the acquistion of Medallion Mortgage Co. and says it retains "a strong appetite for continued growth." The deal gives Accubanc a higher profile on the West Coast. March 3 19441 TECHNOLOGY Kentucky Upstart Eyes Internet 'Virtual Bank' Kentucky's Cardinal Bancshares plans to use the Internet, the global web connecting thousands of computer networks, to deliver a wide range of banking services including transaction, savings, and money market accounts. March 2 19395 First Union Corp. is installing four high-capacity processors from Amdahl Corp., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based supplier of large-scale computing products. The move shows how most large banks continue to rely heavily on mainframes, despite the increased use of personal computers. March 2 19370 Depository Trust Company of New York has joined the international Swift communications network in a move to improve its electronic trade confirmation service. Feb. 28 19276 Jill Considine has dealt with at least two major crises in her 20 months as president of the New York Clearing House Association. But what colleagues praise most are her everyday management and people skills. March 3 19444 Fleet Financial Group can draw on solid experience in post-merger integration to bring Shawmut National Corp. into its operational fold, bank technology experts said. March 19344 FINANCE Bank Bonds Make a Comeback Spreads on bank bonds tightened by 10 basis points in recent weeks, indicating renewed confidence in banks on the part of fixed income investors. March 2 19398 Fourth Financial Corp. announced an overhaul of its balance sheet that would result in a $14.4 million charge in the first quarter, prompting speculation that the Wichita, Kan.-based bank is cleaning its books for a sale. Feb. 27 19084 The collapse of Barings PLC, the London investment banking firm, prompted U.S. regulators to ask banks to evaluate their exposure to the derivatives trading debacle. Little exposure was reported, but the case underscored concerns about derivatives risk. Feb. 28 19300 Analyst Katrina Blecher of Gruntal & Co. backed up her bullish views on the banking industry by adding 10 bank stocks to her coverage list. Her favorite: CoreStates Financial Corp. March 1 19357 Chase Manhattan and First Union teamed up and unexpectedly won the mandate to lead a $1.1 billion loan for Conseco Inc. March 3 19453

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