Loan guarantee programs may not be the best way to finance new businesses, a study found. Page 2


Firstar has signed a 10-year agreement to put its name on a Cincinnati sports arena. Page 4

Wachovia hopes to gain 300,000 consumer households this year, its CEO told analysts. Page 5


KemperFunds has decided not to replace its bank sales chief, an executive said. Page 6

Fidelity Investments opened its Portfolio Advisory Services wrap account to outside mutual funds last year and assets jumped 56%. Page 7


The national surge in home prices seems not to have scared off would-be buyers, the National Association of Realtors reports. Page 8


Assets in bank-managed funds continued to surge last year, closing in on the $1 trillion mark. Now in the major leagues, banks are managing 17% of all U.S. fund assets, up from 10% just five years ago. The prognosis: The real growth is just beginning. Pullout section


Small banks are beating their bigger counterparts in the battle for small-business customers, according to industry experts, by keeping product lines simple and offering more personalized service. Page 9


Visa U.S.A. says its three-year-old effort to stimulate card acceptance in new markets has helped shift $40 billion in payments away from cash and checks. Page 10


Checkfree's CEO says the billing function has been transformed from an administrative matter to a strategic issue now that bills can be presented over the Internet. Page 12


Noncasino corporate loans are becoming more prominent in BankAmerica's portfolio in Nevada. Page 21


ING Group of Amsterdam is the front-runner to buy United Life and Annuity Insurance Co. in Oregon, industry sources said. Back page

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