The FTC's crackdown on information brokers is likely to draw attention to a thorny question: Does the banking industry benefit from deceptive information-gathering practices? Page 2


Community First of Fargo, N.D., said it plans more California acquisitions and may enter as many as nine other western and midwestern states. Page 10

Sun of New Jersey, which has fueled its expansion with branch purchases, has a deal to buy 14 branches in its home state from First Union. Page 10


E-Trade has started airing a commercial urging on-line investors to be sensible and level-headed. Page 12


Finance companies are trying a new approach to get subprime borrowers to pay on time: positive reinforcement. Page 14


Investors prefer banks with high percentages of consumer business, a study shows. That helps explain why banks with low levels of retail business are stepping up consumer activities. Vice chairman Donald Boudreau said Chase has a target of double-digit growth in consumer operations. Page 6

California Federal has kicked off a series of initiatives intended to ramp up revenues and reduce its focus on mortgage-related assets. Page 9


An international specification for stored value cards is taking a more formal shape. The standards developed by Visa have been turned over to a management consortium. Page 15

Visa is trumpeting market research that links its investments in brand promotion to growth in market share. Page 15


Royal Bank of Canada began compiling customer information in a data base in 1978, but has just reached the "hardest part" of marketing. Page 16


Rock Financial shares fell sharply after the Internet-oriented mortgage lender said its earnings for the year would be lower than analysts expected. Page 26

Shares of two Cleveland banking companies, National City Corp. and KeyCorp, reacted sharply to rumors of a merger. Back page

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