Lower interest rates ignited demand for home mortgages and refinancings in November, the Federal Reserve Board said. Page 2

The OCC is delaying release of new privacy guidelines until January. Page 2


Farmland values in the Midwest dropped during the third quarter-the first decline in a decade-because of declining crop and livestock prices, the Chicago Fed reported. Page 8

Citing lax lending policies in each case, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has reprimanded three community banks. Page 8


First Busey of Urbana, Ill., plans to combine its trust and securities services into one unit. Page 10

Essex Corp., a New York wholesaler of fixed and variable annuities, is gearing up to sell mutual funds through banks. Page 10


Norwest Mortgage says Tuesday's $410.3 million in originations pushed its volume for the year over $100 billion, new territory for a single lender. "Every time rates drop down, it really helps the affordability for first-time homebuyers jumping into the market," says Mark Oman, CEO of the Wells unit. Page 11


The Department of Justice is pushing to make debit cards a central issue in its antitrust case against Visa and MasterCard. Page 12

U S West Communications terminated its cobranded credit card program with Household Bank and is seeking another issuer. Page 13


They talked tough, but fear was evident among bankers at the Retail Delivery '98 conference in Las Vegas last week. Page 14


For top syndicated lenders, September's financial crisis was deja vu-up to a point. Page 25


First Tennessee National is one company that can be expected to weather whatever slowdown lies ahead for the banking industry, an influential analyst said. Page 26

Shares of Mercantile Bancorp. rose 6.5% on rumors the $34.6 billion- asset company would sell. Bank One denied reports that it was negotiating a deal for the St. Louis company. Back page


John G. Heimann, comptroller of the currency in the Carter administration, will practice his regulatory skills on a global stage. Page 16

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