Proposed amendments to the reform bill are due today at noon, but rumors are swirling about changes that the Senate Banking Committee will consider when it votes on the legislation Thursday. Page 2

A federal appeals court decision threatens to embroil the financial services industry in hundreds of patent infringement lawsuits. Page 3


With the raising of its first signs on Florida branches, Wachovia has officially and visibly begun a bid for brand recognition in the Sunshine State. Page 5


Two thrifts in Massachusetts plan to merge but remain mutually owned-in what the companies said is the first deal of its kind. Page 6


deposits could get a modest lift as bruised investors exit the stock market, but any rise is likely to be short-lived, bankers said. Page 7


BankBoston has completed its $800 million purchase of the San Francisco securities firm Robertson Stephens, gaining equity underwriting capability forthe first time. The new subsidiary's boss will report to BankBoston vice chairman Paul Hogan, who said the company wants to integrate investment and commercial banking efforts. Page 21


Banks are ill-equipped to meet regulatory edicts for better policing of internal operations, a Pricewaterhouse-Coopers consultant said. Page 9


HOME EQUITY: The Office of Thrift Supervision's warning that high-loan- to-value lending is risky has quashed one buyout deal, but leaders in the business say it should not affect them significantly. Page 10


SMART CARDS: Mondex International has plantedits flag in continental Europe for the first time with adeal in Norway. Page 12


FirstPlus Financial, the leader in the high-loan-to-value mortgage business, is for sale. Analysts saythe Dallas company could fetch $1.7 billion from a bank or card company. Page 22

A Federal Reserve interest rate cut would be a tonic for ailing financial markets, but the central bank seems to be in no hurry to provide the medicine. Back page

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