WASHINGTON A government plan to make more banks pay for federal deposit insurance is quietly taking shape. But critics who think the market should play a role in setting premiums are calling the approach "primitive." Page 2 The Bankers Roundtable is searching for economists to join the debate over whether the federal government subsidizes banks. And it is prepared to pay those who reach the right conclusions. Page 2 REGIONAL Pacific Century Financial in Honolulu teamed up with a nonprofit organization to offer savings accounts to people who have never done business with a bank. Page 3 Stymied by the government's veto on big mergers, Canada's top banks may be looking south for growth again. Page 3 COMMUNITY A North Carolina start-up is using a Scottish theme to attract customers. Page 4 MORTGAGES Household International is successfully integrating Beneficial's operations and can increase profitability by shedding some card units and focusing on home equity and consumer finance, a BT Alex. Brown research report says. Page 5 TECHNOLOGY Stock-price movements suggest that times have turned tough for Nestor Inc., a provider of neural network software for detecting credit card fraud. Page 6 CARDS HNC Software signed a marketing agreement with Total System Services. Page 8 Banks are raising credit card limits faster than consumers are increasing card spending, which could cause further concern about credit quality. Page 8 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS Federated Investors, continuing its effort to broaden its mutual fund product line, rolled out a large-capitalization growth fund. Page 10 After a solid start, Bank of Hawaii is working to boost assets under management in three new stock funds. Page 10 MARKET MONITOR Nineteen ninety-eight was yet another boom year for the U.S. stock market, but few market strategists called it right. Page 25 Investors are expected to become much more selective about bank stocks in the new year as dark clouds from abroad continue to hang over the industry, analysts said. Back page
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