WASHINGTON S&L Charter Flips May Threaten Premium Cut The banking industry's anxiously awaited deposit insurance rate cut could be delayed if thrifts succeed in moving funds into the Bank Insurance Fund. That threat became more urgent as the nation's largest thrift, Home Savings of America, disclosed plans to charter a savings bank insured by the bank fund in order to shift funds out of the Savings Association Insurance Fund.

March 10

18020

The chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Ricki Tigert Helfer, warned that the government could be on the hook for about $5 billion - and possibly several times that - because of lawsuits filed by thrifts. The potential payout could make it tough for the thrift industry to persuade lawmakers to provide funds for rebuilding the Savings Association Insurance Fund.

March 6

19509

Sovereign Bancorp, Wyomissing, Pa., abandoned its controversial bid to acquire Patriot Savings Bank, Pottstown, Pa., during a meeting of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., government sources said. The action came amid signs the FDIC would vote against the transaction.

March 9

19879

Deputy Treasury Secretary Frank Newman said the administration may compromise on how large a stake financial companies can own in industrial concerns while still qualifying to own bank.

He reiterated the administration's opposition to completely dropping the barriers to combining commerce and banking. However, he added that the administration is willing to discuss how large an investment a financial company can have in a commercial or industrial concern under the proposed law.

March 7

19772

Comptroller of the Currency Eugene A. Ludwig said regulators will complete their overhaul of the Community Reinvestment Act by mid-April. At a House Banking subcommittee hearing that was disrupted by protesters chanting "Save CRA," Mr. Ludwig said the March 31 deadline set by Vice President Gore was "too short a time frame."

March 9

19878 REGIONAL BANKING PNC Sees Cost Savings From N.J. Expansion By acquiring part of Chemical Bank New Jersey for $504 million, PNC Bank Corp. is gambling that it will be able to achieve cost savings and additional fund management revenues in an upscale market. Analysts said Pittsburgh-based PNC is likely to succeed.

March 10

19898

Pretax earnings for Barclays Bank PLC in the United States posted a sharp turnaround in 1994, rising to $379.2 million after a loss of $880 million a year earlier. Most of the improvement came from a steep drop in provisions for bad loans and from the sale of assets in the United States.

March 9

19851

Harry B. Brock Jr., founder of Compass Bancshares, is fighting probably the last great battle of his distinguished career as he tries to gain control of the bank's board through a proxy challenge. In pursuing his conviction that the bank needs to be sold, Mr. Brock faces an uphill struggle to depose a well-entrenched management.

March 7

19753

Wachovia Corp. has joined the banking industry's cost-cutting craze, even though it's already one of the most efficient banks in the nation. A team of executives is carrying out a review that is expected to result in some employee layoffs. The review is targeting only salaried managers; hourly employees are not affected.

March 9

19853

In another move aimed at leveraging its processing systems, Bank of New York has agreed to acquire the municipal bond administration business of New Orleans-based Hibernia National Bank for an undisclosed sum.

March 9

19832 COMMUNITY BANKING CRA Exemption Sought For Minority Banks A group of West Coast bankers, seeking to capitalize on the antiregulatory climate in Washington, is pushing for federal legislation to exempt minority banks from the Community Reinvestment Act. The Western Independent Bankers, a regional trade group of community banks, hopes to insert the measure into the banking regulatory relief bill to be introduced in the House and Senate banking committees.

March 8

19807

In a significant victory for the state's independent banks, the Georgia House last week shelved a Senate bill that would have allowed state- chartered banks to branch into neighboring counties. Five other states also prohibit statewide branching. About a dozen state banks are considering converting to a thrift charter, allowing them to branch anywhere.

March 8

19805

Small community banks that use derivatives need to draw the same lessons as money-center banks and others from last month's collapse of the British merchant bank Barings PLC, industry experts say. Some suggest hiring an adviser to avoid a costly lesson.

March 9

19862

After a month and a half of unusual trading volume and merger rumors, Bay Ridge Bancorp is fishing for a merger partner. The Brooklyn-based thrift holding company said it is exploring its options to boost shareholder value.

March 8

19806

The president of the nation's 10th-largest banking company says Congress should cut small banks some extra slack when it comes to regulations. Robert W. Gillespie, president and chief operating officer of Cleveland- based Keycorp, said keeping up with the blizzard of paperwork is tough even for a $66.8 billion-asset company like Key.

March 10

19888 SMALL BUSINESS Merrill Lynch Parlays Presence on Main St.

Merrill Lynch & Co., using its local offices and national reputation, has increasingly been winning plum assignments from small businesses willing to look beyond their Main Street bank. Its system of referrals to and from brokers could provide valuable lessons for banks.

March 7

19739

Small businesses are only lukewarm to the kinds of products and the level of service offered by their primary banker, according to a survey by Opinion Research Corp. Asked whether they trusted their bank for financial advice, only 38% put banks in the top category.

March 7

19750 COMPLIANCE Issues-Oriented Leader For CRA Arm of ABA

The American Bankers Association's Center for Community Development will become more issue oriented as it becomes part of the group's government relations shop. Judith Knight, the center's new director, says community reinvestment is good business - not a compliance nightmare.

March 9

19858

In an effort to curb money laundering, the Federal Reserve is urging U.S. banks to keep closer tabs on customers who set up checking accounts through foreign institutions.

March 9

19859

Compliance software company DataMap, Eden Prairie, Minn., has merged with Vista Environmental Information, San Diego, to form a business with a dual focus on demographics and the environment.

March 9

19865 CREDIT UNIONS West Coast Merger Sunk by Regulator Succumbing to regulatory pressure, two West Coast credit unions abandoned what would have been the industry's biggest merger. Patelco Credit Union and First Technology Federal Credit Union dropped their plan in the face of high hurdles set by the National Credit Union Administration.

March 7

19775

National Credit Union Association Chairman Norman E. D'Amours got it from all sides as industry leaders and even his predecessors criticized his performance during the association's annual government affairs convention. The NCUA's seizure of Capital Corporate Federal Credit Union on Jan. 31 was one sour subject.

March 6

19495

Pentagon Federal Credit Union quit the industry's biggest trade group to protest the Credit Union National Association's lawsuit against the federal government. CUNA's legal challenge of a regulation limiting shared management between trade groups and liquidity centers is inappropriate and a waste of resources, Pentagon Federal said.

March 6

19461

The government rejected Lusitania Federal Credit Union's plans to switch to a thrift charter. The action by the National Credit Union Administration was expected because the regulator has taken a hard line against credit union conversions. Also, Lusitania did not get the necessary agency approval of proxy statements informing members of the charter shift.

March 6

19496

The credit union industry's overall assets grew just 4.5%, to $289 billion, according to preliminary data compiled by the National Credit Union Administration. That's about half 1993's growth and a third of the growth in 1992.

March 6

19498 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs Amex Recruits Bank In Israel to Sell Cards American Express Co. signed up Israel's largest bank to issue its cards. As part of the marketing agreement, Bank Hapoalim, a Visa and MasterCard issuer, will sell acceptance of American Express cards to its network of 40,000 merchants.

March 6

19510

For the fifth consecutive year, point of sale debit transactions posted double-digit growth. Debit card proponents are continuing to explore ways to boost use, including adding new merchant categories for acceptance.

March 7

19759

National Data Corp., a leading transaction processor, has been expanding its core business since chief executive Robert A. Yellowlees took over 2#1/2 years ago. Among the new offerings are debit and procurement processing, electronic signature capture, and check guarantee.

March 9

19855

Amid the country's economic turmoil, the Mexican government has issued rules that specify how credit bureaus should collect and disseminate consumer credit information. The regulations opened the starting gates for several credit-reporting operations that are now jockeying for position in one of the world's most attractive emerging markets.

March 10

18001 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS Jones & Co. to Offer Cards and Mortgages

As Edward D. Jones & Co. prepares to complete its purchase of a Missouri thrift, the brokerage's plans in banking are turning out to be far more ambitious than it had indicated. The company has added home loans and credit cards to the list of products it intends to market nationwide.

March 7

19773

The National Association of Securities Dealers' controversial plan to create a distinct regulatory regime for bank broker-dealers is suddenly gathering considerable momentum. A senior staff member of the Securities and Exchange Commission has endorsed the plan, and the NASD has picked 10 bankers to serve on a new advisory panel on bank broker-dealers.

March 8

19819

One year after banking regulators issued guidelines for investment sales through branches, examiners are still spotting problems with compliance, according to senior regulators. Trouble spots include poor record keeping and inappropriate sales pitches from bank tellers.

March 10

18011

U.S. Trust Corp. has a struck a mutual fund marketing agreement with a specialist in affinity group sales, USAffinity Investments. The move could help the New York banking company reach a new clientele.

March 10

18012

Crescent Bank and Trust Co., a $50 million-asset bank in Jasper, Ga., is about to open the trust department that its name has hinted at. It's a bold move; most experts say a bank should be at least twice the size of Crescent before it can even think of entering the trust business.

March 8

19804 MORTGAGES Mortgage Delinquency Jumped in 4th Quarter

With rising interest rates pinching homeowners, mortgage delinquency may be on the upswing. Late payments posted their biggest jump in nearly four years during 1994's fourth quarter, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America.

March 8

19817

TransAmerica, making a major push in home equity lending, is planning to buy $1.4 billion of the loans and hire 600 people to service them. The loans are coming from GE Capital Mortgage Corp. and another, undisclosed lender.

March 10

18013

The pace of consolidation in mortgage banking quickened in February - and the momentum may well carry into the spring. Several deals were announced or closed in recent weeks and a spate of servicing portfolios were put on the market.

March 9

19867

NationsBank Corp. is one of the bidders for the $10 billion mortgage servicing portfolio of AmSouth Bancorp., sources said.

March 6

19474

For the second year in a row, Freddie Mac fell short of a goal set by the government for supporting mortgages in central cities. Fannie Mae met its goal. Both agencies, meanwhile, continued to exceed the target for total loans to people with low and moderate incomes.

March 9

19877

The combination of declining interest rates and the spring homebuying season may result in a surge in popularity of 30-year fixed loans. Interest rates on the 30-year loan stayed below 9% for a full week.

March 7

19738 TECHNOLOGY Fiserv Buys BankLink In Deal with Chemical Fiserv Inc. said it has acquired a corporate cash management processing business from Chemical Banking Corp., in its second deal with a New York money-center bank in two weeks. The outsourcing and software company paid an undisclosed amount for Chemical BankLink Inc., which provides an array of software and processing services to over 120 financial institutions.

March 9

19872

Treasury Services Corp. is near completing work on an asset-liability management system designed specifically for a massively parallel processing platform from AT&T Global Information Solutions Corp. Though the system will not be available until May or June, Banc One Corp. has begun installing it.

March 8

19812

Electronic Data Systems Corp. announced it has acquired, Lakewood Corp., a developer of home loan origination software in Greenfield, N.H. The acquisition will help EDS round out its secondary marketing and servicing systems with Lakewood's loan origination software.

March 7

19734

In a trade secret suit, Dallas-based Banctec charged that Advanced Financial Solutions Inc. improperly obtained proprietary data. It backfired when the rival, AFS, countersued and was awarded $5.5 million in damages.

March 6

19506

Raymond Senuk, chief technologist at Boatmen's Bancshares, has boosted efficiency by moving processing for dozens of recent acquisitions to Boatmen's own computer platform.

March 10

18000 FINANCE Bank Stocks, Bonds Rockedby Rumors

Bank stocks and bonds were caught in a maelstrom of rumors and speculation as investors fretted over international currency problems.

March 10

18019

Signs of an economic slowdown continued to mount last week, but some fear the resulting rally in bank stocks may have run its course.

March 6

19504

Bank of Boston Corp. shares skidded on investor fears that the difficulties of emerging markets are spreading to Argentina, where it owns a bank that contributed 9% to earnings last year. The slumping of the dollar and the bond market have reinforced this fear.

March 7

19764

Investors fled the banking sector as the dollar plunged to new lows against the German mark and Japanese yen. This, in turn, fueled fears, since it is expected that when the Federal Reserve Board meets again this month, it will raise interest rates again in attempts to end the dollar's decline.

March 8

19824

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