TECH FACEOFF: Austin Adams of First Union, left, and James Dixon of NationsBank are tough competitors who agree on one principle the need for common systems. Page 16

WASHINGTON

Asia's economic turmoil will cut profits at individual banks in 1999, but is not expected to cause widespread problems for the U.S. banking system, a government economist said. Page 2

REGIONAL

Building on its strong presence in northern Ohio, FirstMerit of Akron said it would buy Signal for about $470 million in stock. Page 5

MORTGAGES

HOME EQUITY: America's Community Bankers has put its stamp of approval on a partnership program meant to help members make subprime loans. Page 7

The nation's largest mortgage insurer, Mortgage Guaranty Insurance, has started insuring loans to borrowers with less than pristine credit. Page 8

COMMUNITY

After spending the last year getting into the insurance, printing, and even Internet industries, West Virginia's City Holding has once again agreed to buy a bank holding company. Page 11

DIGITAL FRONTIERS

SMART CARDS: BankAmerica and Visa International are beginning an experiment in loading Visa Cash smart cards with funds via the Internet. Page 14

CARDS

SunTrust Bank Central Florida, launching a Visa Cash program in Celebration, Fla., has signed KARS Unlimited as its distributor to collectors. Page 15

CORPORATE FINANCE

SUMMIT COMMERCIAL is trying to move beyond the shadow of its parent company, Summit Bancorp of New Jersey. Page 25

MARKETS

Bank bond prices slumped amid the global tumult in financial markets set off by fresh fears about Japan's economy. Back page

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