States Rip B of A Plan For Nationwide Thrifts

In complaint letters sent last month to the Office of Thrift Supervision, officials from Maine, New Hampshire, and Wyoming argued that BankAmerica's applications to open thrift branches in their states are an attempt to subvert the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994.

December 4


If politicians can't strike a deal on the budget by Jan. 1, thrifts will begin the year paying substantially higher insurance premiums than banks - exactly what the industry has been working all year to avoid. But a key lawmaker said Wednesday that even if the hefty premiums are paid, thrifts can still get the money back.

December 7


Reacting to the Daiwa bank scandal, the head of a key House Banking subcommittee said the pending regulatory relief bill should be rewritten to maintain tough audit requirements on banks.

December 6


Bankers are opposing a plan to create what would amount to a new category of top performers under the Community Reinvestment Act. The proposal would let examiners single out banks at the top of the "outstanding" and "satisfactory" categories by including a short comment in the bank's CRA report noting the extra performance.

December 8



Despite Rumored Demise, Branches Still on the Rise

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the number of bank branches in the United States is continuing to rise. Between 1985 and yearend 1994, the number of commercial bank and trust bank branches jumped 27%, to 55,145, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.

December 5


Fifth Third Bancorp has started a program to help companies rid themselves of shareholders who hold small amounts of stock.

December 4


A marketing snafu has produced some red faces at NationsBank of Texas and sent the company scrambling to withdraw a mail solicitation for home equity loans.

December 6


Norwest Corp.'s annual "Duck Dinner" started out as an all-male drinking and card-playing brawl for the bank's correspondent customers. Now the December fete is a sophisticated, co-ed management conference. Competition in the industry has done most to change the event, says Norwest senior vice president John Sampson.

December 7


A federal judge in Detroit refused Michigan National Corp.'s request to dismiss a shareholder suit accusing it of fraud.

December 8



Small Banks Warming to Making Big Insider Loans Community bankers are becoming more comfortable with making large loans to insiders and related parties after years of hesitancy because of well- publicized scandals and regulatory scrutiny.

December 8


More than 71% of the bankers surveyed by Georgia's Community Bankers Association oppose statewide branching. The Georgia Bankers Association says the majority of bankers it contacted support such a move. Both groups represent basically the same constituency - so who's right? State lawmakers would like to know, because they'll renew debate on the issue when their legislative session opens in January.

December 7


Lawrence Connell has saved a few banks in his career as a chief executive officer. Now he can add a life to his tally. The president and chief executive of Maine's Atlantic Bancorp and former federal credit union regulator, prevented a suicide last month when he pulled a distraught young man from a burning car in Rye, N.H.

December 7


The Connecticut divestitures required by the Fleet-Shawmut merger will make Webster Financial the biggest depository institution based in the state. That means new leadership responsibilities for Webster's boss, James Smith.

December 4


Texas bankers who finance cotton, one of the state's biggest crops, are praying that next year's harvest won't be a repeat of this year's devastation.

December 4



Help Line Keeps Nafcu's Answer Team on the Run

The trade group of federal credit unions maintains a hot line - staffed by its federal regulatory counsels - to answer member institutions' compliance questions.

December 7


Derivatives activities in small national banks will get closer scrutiny under updated examination guidelines issued by the Comptroller's office.

December 7


Federal regulators are proposing to allow banks to use 365 or 366 as the base for calculating interest in a leap year. While moving to 366 days would save banks money, Truth-in-Savings compliance software used by some banks may not be equipped to give banks that option.

December 7



Court Overturns Ouster Of Patelco Investigator

A California judge overturned the ouster by Patelco Credit Union of the head of a committee probing allegations of management abuse.

December 4


A war for students' wallets has broken out between banks and credit unions at some college campuses.

December 4



ATM Growth Dominated By Off-Premises Units

For the 12 months ended June 30, the top 50 banks increased their overall ATM count by 13%, according to the 1995 American Banker ATM survey.

December 4


Furthering the trend toward consolidation, Nova Informations Systems Inc. has acquired three independent service organizations and converted them into district offices.

December 8


Exchange System and Electronic Data Systems Corp. have formed TransAlliance, a new electronic funds transfer processing company.

December 7


In the holiday season, when 33% of all credit-card transactions take place, MasterCard International and Visa U.S.A. are gravely concerned about credit-card fraud.

December 7



A Trust Pro at Glenmede Maintains the Status Quo

James L. Kermes wants to take Philadelphia's Glenmede Trust Co., nest known for managing family money, to another level - without changing its high-toned image.

December 7


Dime Savings Bank of New York, countering thrift's image as wealth and management lightweights, will launch a private-label asset allocation product early in 1996 to entice clients with at least $100,000 to invest.

December 5


F. Brian Cerini has built Great Western Financial Corp.'s proprietary mutual funds into a powerhouse through branch sales. Now, he is intent on increasing its reach through nonbank channels.

December 6


Banks in the retirement plan business are beginning to feel the impact of a Labor Department investigation into how employee contributions are safeguarded.

December 4


Banks have sharply cut back spending on advertising investment products as they employ other ways to promote their brokerage units, a research firm has found.

December 8



Norwest Mortgage Unit To Buy Most of Prudential

First Union was knocked out of bidding for Prudential Home Mortgage, clearing a path for Norwest to buy most of the company.

December 4


Prudential Home Mortgage Co. plans to sell its servicing portfolio and other assets to First Union Mortgage were scuttled by Pru's dispute with a third party over the value of jumbo-mortgage rights.

December 7


With Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still holding firm to different loan ceilings for 1996, speculation is mounting over which will back down, and how. And seasoned observers are betting that Fannie Mae will reverse itself, raising its ceiling to $207,000 to match Freddie Mac's.

December 5


Mortgage delinquencies rose to 4.24% of all loans in the third quarter, confirming that the second-quarter increase was more than a blip. Economists now expect delinquencies to keep climbing at least through 1996.

December 8


When they push mortgage loans, commercial banks and thrifts put themselves on the line to a greater extent than government- sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

December 6



Banks Ringing Up Fees For Use of Phone Services

Banks' newfound aggressiveness in charging fees is not stopping with automated teller or even live teller transactions. It is carrying over into telephone centers. Though it may be too early to declare it a national trend, the signals emanating from the West Coast are unmistakable.

December 4


A growing number of big banks are committing millions of dollars to transform their prosaic telephone service operations into souped-up sales and service centers that can in many ways replace branches.

December 7


Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates extended an olive branch to bankers in Atlanta, saying that Microsoft wants to enter into partnerships with them, not take over their business.

December 6


Retail customers who depend largely or entirely on bank branches still far outnumber those who mainly use electronic services, a First Manhattan Consulting Group study concludes. "We had better be careful in any attempts to radically downsize the branch system," said James M. McCormick, the firm's president.

December 5


The Bank Administration Institute retail delivery systems conference, which concluded Wednesday in Atlanta, confirmed its status as banking's biggest and hottest event - but it was no blockbuster in the area of product announcements.

December 8



Wall St. Sees Wells Ahead In Fight for 1st Interstate

Wells Fargo & Co. may be gaining the upper hand over First Bank System Inc. in the bitter battle to buy First Interstate Bancorp. The stock market's new view of the Wells offer represents a sharp widening between the two bids since mid-November - a sign that the market may be warming to the unfriendly offer.

December 6


First Bank System's controversial share-repurchase program is now the subject of at least three lawsuits claiming the bank has manipulated its stock price in an effort to inflate its bid for First Interstate.

December 5


Japanese banks' loan losses could reach $1.4 trillion, Veribanc says.

December 4


To prove that Daiwa-like trading losses are the exception and not the rule, the three banking agencies released a study showing that earnings from trading activities have been solid.

December 7


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