WASHINGTON

Disputing grim predictions from Fed economists, a top FDIC official and a Fed governor told lawmakers that the consolidation of banking won't crimp lending to small businesses. Page 2

Congress is investigating allegations that Norman E. D'Amours has mismanaged the National Credit Union Administration. The allegations were raised by a former NCUA director who is suing the White House over his ouster. Page 2

COMMUNITY BANKING

A battle between the holding company for a small Chicago thrift and a pesky banker-shareholder escalated at the thrift's annual meeting last week, but was not resolved one way or the other. Page 6

Bluebonnet Savings, a Texas thrift that aroused congressional scrutiny for reaping millions of dollars of federal assistance in the wake of the savings and loan crisis, is reinventing itself as a wholesale bank. Page 6

REGIONAL BANKING

mug of hansel

Hibernia chief executive Stephen A. Hansel raised a few eyebrows at a recent shareholders meeting when he described his New Orleans-based bank as "a candidate to be acquired." The question is: Was Mr. Hansel hinting about anything specific? Analysts say probably not, although they note that the bank is a an attractive target. Page 4

COMPLIANCE

A Dallas-based housing group is devising a data base to help prevent banks from dropping community reinvestment projects in Texas simply because an appraiser inaccurately estimates a property's value. Page 8

MORTGAGES

Merrill Lynch said it has an agreement to buy the last piece of Prudential Insurance Company of America's mortgage unit. Page 10

GE Capital Mortgage Corp. named Thomas H. Mann president and chief executive, replacing Michael Zafirovski, who was promoted within General Electric last month. Page 10

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

CUC International is offering a car rebate program that rewards cardholders with points redeemable for a new or used car. Page 14

First Union said seven additional merchants have agreed to participate in the Visa Cash stored-value card program in conjunction with the Summer Olympics. Page 14

TECHNOLOGY

Electronic Data Systems has signed a deal to build and manage an electronic registry for Mortgage Electronic Registration System Inc. Page 17

FINANCE

Continuing its quest to build an investment banking franchise, Chase Manhattan recently named a former Furman Selz executive head of U.S. Securities. Back page

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