Special Report: 2d-Half Outlook Optimism for Second Half Is Widespread

Mortgage executives and economists are much happier now than they were at the end of last year. Looking to the second half of 1995, they business improving in terms of volume as well as profits.

July 6

18042

Larry Swedroe, vice chairman of Prudential Home Mortgage Corp., said the sharp consolidation since the end of the refinancing wave has dramatically reduced the mortgage industry's production capacity and the drop in rates has improved the balance between capacity and applications.

July 6

18042

Greg Barmore, chief executive of GE Capital Mortgage Corp., said the most significant aspect of 1995 was the drop in interest rates. "It's starting to bring back origination volume on both sides, purchase and refinance," he said.

July 6

18042

At Countrywide Credit Industries, executives are keeping a sharp eye on interest rates. Stanford L. Kurland, senior managing director and chief operating officer, said his company believes long-term interest rates are near bottom and will remain low for the rest of the year.

July 6

18042

The top economists at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expecting a strong second half not only for mortgage originations in general but also for their own enterprises.

July 6

18044 WASHINGTON Brokered Deposits Up As Bad History Fades

Brokered deposits, which got a bad name during the savings and loan crisis, are working their way back to respectability. The volume of such deposits, usually sold as jumbo CDs, has been rising slowly since hitting bottom in 1993.

July 7

18148

Banks and thrifts scored a budget victory as the House approved a new spending-cuts package that offers financial incentives for community development lending. The package makes $50 million available for President Clinton's community development bank program. However, the measure was stalled in the Senate.

July 3

19707

The deadline set by the Resolution Trust Corp. for accepting new cases came and went without any last-minute thrift seizures. Now, any resolution costs must be paid by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s Savings Association Insurance Fund, which is undercapitalized.

July 5

18034

A federal appeals court in Philadelphia has made it easier for the government to sue directors and officers of failed thrifts successfully, reigniting a legal debate the industry thought it had already won. July 6

18088

A Federal Reserve Board decision granting an Iowa bank permission to offer title abstracting has given some Fed watchers hope that the agency is warming to bank title-insurance sales. July 5

18036 REGIONAL BANKING Credit Suisse Merges U.S., Canada Units

In a move aimed at boosting sluggish earnings from its Canadian banking operation, Switzerland's Credit Suisse has combined its U.S. and Canadian activities under a single management headquartered in New York. Credit Suisse officials said they hope the move will enable the bank to offer a wider range of services while reducing costs.

July 7

18107

Richard McNish, president of Southern California Business Development Corp., scopes out lending opportunities in South Central Los Angeles armed with a $6 million line of credit from Bank of America, First Interstate, and Union Bank.

July 5

18011

Bankers Trust New York Corp. said it will form a global-custody joint venture with Credit Lyonnais covering $85 billion of the French bank's assets under management. The U.S. bank is nearing a similar strategic alliance with a South African bank, said an official of Bankers Trust's European custody business.

July 6

18095

The country's biggest thrift, $41 billion-asset Home Savings of America, has begun a push to sell a range of consumer loan products beyond the mortgage loans that are its primary business.

July 3

19693

In a move to further develop consumer, emerging markets, and multinational corporate banking, Citicorp has given three executives increased responsibilities. "Our objective is to broaden participants and bring together the best functional skills," chairman John Reed said in a memo.

July 5

18013 COMMUNITY BANKING Essex Tries to Acquire Its Way Out of Trouble

When most banks run into trouble, they look for safety in the arms of an acquirer. Not Essex Bancorp. The bank is trying to save itself by becoming an acquirer. In a highly unusual deal, Essex made plans to buy Home Bancorp of Norfolk for $22 million. Some observers see the deal as both a daring and innovative way to raise emergency capital. But others are dismissing it as a desperate measure.

July 7

18152

Despite the spotty record of such deals in recent years, outside investors injected capital into two ailing institutions in Southern California.

July 5

18016

Agricultural banks in the Upper Midwest are taking advantage of a boomlet in the cooperative business. Rural bankers say co-ops are a welcome new source of loan and deposit business - and also offer much-needed cash flow to their borrowers who are members.

July 3

19667

Shorebank Corp. faces myriad challenges in its pending acquisition of the nation's largest black-owned bank - not the least of which is its own flagging performance. July 6

18057

Daryl Forsythe, a former aerospace executive, is setting a new course for NBT Bancorp in upstate New York after a turbulent period of growth.

July 3

19680 COMPLIANCE Firm Cashing In On Advising Banks

Making sense of Washington's edicts has meant big bucks for Barefoot, Marrinan & Associates, the Columbus, Ohio-based consulting firm. Former regulator Jo Ann Barefoot and ex-banker Timothy D. Marrinan expect even more business as banks outsource compliance.

July 6

18078

A little-noticed section in the House version of the regulatory relief bill would exempt many larger banks from a 1991 requirement that they maintain an audit committee composed exclusively of outside directors.

July 6

18072

Compliance giant Bankers Systems Inc. has teamed up with Fiserv to offer software that facilitates compliance with lending-related rules.

July 6

18069 CREDIT UNIONS Letters Hit NCUA Plan On Lender Bonus Lid

A government plan to restrict bonuses paid to loan officers met a mostly negative response from credit unions. A refrain in many of the 70 letters commenting on the National Credit Union Administration proposal is that credit unions alone should design incentive programs.

July 3

19671

A bill strengthening the federal government's power over state-chartered credit unions cleared the Senate Banking Committee on a unanimous vote.

July 3

19673 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs German Smart Card Firm Forges U.S. Link

Orga Card Systems Inc., the German smart card maker, announced a joint venture with Kirk Plastic Co., the fifth-largest payment card maker in the United States.

July 7

18135

Citibank's operation in Germany is right on schedule to launch a cobranded card with Deutsche Bahn, the state-owned railway. But the giant credit card issuer has unexpectedly incurred the anger of consumer activists there.

July 7

18134

Despite the downsizing common among corporations these days, people with expertise in credit card technology find themselves in demand, said headhunter Susan Allard, a partner at Allard Associates.

July 6

18067

BAI Mail Monitor has found that the number of direct mail credit card solicitations keeps rising, while response rates continue to dip. The Tarrytown, N.Y.-based firm found there had been 723.2 million solicitations in the first quarter, with a 1.2% response rate.

July 3

19679 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS Banks Revive IRAs In Bet on Tax Break

As Congress mulls legislation that would expand tax breaks for individual retirement accounts, some banks are kicking marketing campaigns into high gear. Keycorp, First Union Corp., and Wells Fargo & Co. are among those that have renewed efforts to pitch IRAs. In doing so, they hope to grab back some savings dollars lost to mutual fund companies and brokerage firms.

July 3

19696

Just two years ago, bankers viewed automated teller machines as the next great delivery channel for mutual funds. But today, the group of banks offering ATM access to at least some of their mutual funds remains stuck at three - Citicorp, Fleet Financial Group, and Wells Fargo & Co.

July 5

18032

After months on the sidelines, bank brokerage customers are finally getting into the stock fund game. That's the word from mutual fund executives and bank brokerage chiefs. In a round of interviews, these players said they've begun to see clear interest in stock funds from the very customers who once clung to bond funds.

July 5

18017

The trust unit of Boatmen's Bancshares is sizing up some new ways to deliver services to its wealthy clientele.

July 6

18061 MORTGAGES Economic Jitters Dull Loan Appetites

Despite falling interest rates, consumers haven't been buying big-ticket items like homes because of their lack of confidence in the economy. Experts say consumers are trying to sort out conflicting economic messages.

July 5

18028

David Frank, former chief executive of Chemical Home Mortgage, is the most recent head of a mortgage company to depart his post. He likely did so because of the culture shock he faced working for a big bank.

Photo: David Frank p. 14

July 5

18031

In home equity lending - where the traditional way of leaving a top post is still retirement - several of the industry's most noteworthy executives quit their posts in the last month. July 3

19699 TECHNOLOGY Fingerprinting Urged Against Check Fraud

In a move aimed at curbing the growth of fraud, the Arizona Bankers Association is leading a statewide campaign to use fingerprints to verify some checks.

July 6

18073

A survey of senior executives at the top 200 U.S. banks found they expect the number of ways they distribute services to at least double in the next 10 years. And they see branches, though reconfigured, as continuing to be crucial to customer service.

July 5

18018

The Securities Industry Association has entered into a pact with Nynex Corp. giving the New York-based telecommunications company a leading role in helping Wall Street firms build sophisticated global voice and data networks.

July 6

18076

Michael D. Hansen probably spends less time in his office than at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport - his jumping-off point for visits to Banc One affiliates in 11 states. Mr. Hansen is responsible for centralizing and standardizing processes at the company's 69 affiliates.

July 7

18111 FINANCE NationsBank to Buy No. 1 Florida Thrift

Continuing a breakneck expansion in Florida, NationsBank Corp. said it had signed a definitive agreement to buy closely held CSF Holdings Inc. of Miami, the state's biggest thrift company, for $516 million in cash. The announcement came nine days after NationsBank said it would acquire Intercontinental Bank, also of Miami, for $208 million.

July 6

18093

Banks began cutting their prime rates Thursday after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time in nearly three years. Banc One Corp. and BankAmerica Corp. were among the first to react, trimming their prime rates to 8.75%, from 9%. Others were expected to follow suit.

July 7

18145

Hibernia National Bank, New Orleans, along with Household Finance Corp. and Household International Inc., got positive news from rating agencies. Standard & Poor's improved its long-term outlook on Household International and Household Finance to "positive," from "stable." And Moody's put Hibernia's long-term debt under review for a possible upgrading.

July 7

18142

Seeing a profit-taking opportunity, PaineWebber analyst Thomas McCandless cut his rating on Keycorp to "unattractive," from "neutral."

July 6

18094

Faced with the costly delays and exorbitant fees of traditional bankruptcy battles, more lenders and their borrowers are trying to prepackage the process to hasten its completion.

July 5

18029

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