Banks are girding for battle as the government studies whether to force lenders to bid at auction for the right to make student loans. Page 2

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is negotiating with federal and state banking agencies to share authority over companies that sell banking and insurance products. Page 2


William Goodyear, the top BankAmerica executive in Chicago, said he would leave the company early next year. Page 6

Foreign banks are joining the name game-unifying their identities to bolster brand recognition in the United States. Page 7


The much-delayed public offering of a would-be bank holding company in California is back on course, courtesy of a rebounding stock market. Page 8


Intervention by the OCC has added complexity to the legal dispute in Connecticut over ATM surcharges. Under Julie L. Williams, now the agency's chief counsel, the agency filed a brief on behalf of Fleet and First Union, which are seeking to overturn state rulings that bar ATM surcharges. Page 14


A group representing 17 large banks will study how participants in 401(k) plans decide what to do withdistributions.

Citicorp brought a successful annuities underwriting business to Travelers Group when the two companies merged.


Alltel will help develop software to automate the property-tax side of mortgage servicing.


Bottomline Technologies, a New Hampshire-based developer of corporate payments software, hopes to raise $40 million in its initial public offering.


Banque Nationale de Paris recently got authorization from the Federal Reserve Board to create a U.S. investment banking subsidiary.


Retail sales rose in November for the fourth straight month, a sign of strength that may dissuade the Fed from further interest rate cuts.

Bank stocks are among the best bets in the market today, Salomon Smith Barney said.

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