Congress must reform the Federal Home Loan Bank System so it focuses more on its original mission of expanding housing opportunities, a senior Treasury Department official said. Page 2

A top energy industry official said the chances of year-2000-related power blackouts are slim. Page 2


The fate of Gorgas Savings Association in Philadelphia and 25 other tiny, privately insured Pennsylvania building and loans is in Gov. Tom Ridge's hands. Page 5


Competitors and other industry players say Invest Financial appears to have snared a smaller third-party marketer put up for sale by SunAmerica. Page 6


Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce exported one of its Christmas traditions to Wall Street, donating to children's charities the fees collected Dec. 1 by its brokerage unit. Page 21


Housing permits set a third-quarter record and are headed for a near- record year. Some 315,000 permits for single-family houses were issued in the quarter, the research firm U.S. Housing Markets reported. The previous record for a third quarter, 307,500, was set in 1977. Page 7

Six months after entering Florida through the acquisition of Great Western Financial, Washington Mutual is planning an expansion in the state. Page 7


Direct marketing firms had better develop ways to protect consumer privacy or lawmakers will soon step in, say prominent government officials who attended a Washington conference on the subject. Page 9

First Union, which owns the sixth-largest ATM network, is expanding that business in partnership with an outsourcing specialist. Page 9


Unable to settle their patent dispute quietly, two providers of up-and- coming security technologies are spoiling for a court fight. Page 10

Banking companies are paying millions for deals with Internet gateway portals, hoping to attract the attention of some of the millions who regularly latch onto such Web sites. Page 11


Investors are likely to snap up brokerage bonds because of cheap prices and the prospect of merger mania in the sector, a bank bond analyst says. Page 22

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