WASHINGTON: THE GOP'S unfunded-mandates initiative could block any efforts by Congress or regulators to impose safety and soundness requirements or consumer and investor protections on state agencies, a lawmaker says. Page 2 THE THRIFT industry's trade group is changing its name to America's Community Bankers, galling the Independent Bankers Association. Page 2 REGIONAL BANKING: CORRESPONDENT banking balances declined sharply at most U.S. banks, according to the American Banker's latest annual survey of the top 200 banks in the business. Page 4 SIGNET Banking Corp. said fourth-quarter earnings were off 14% because of restructuring charges related to the spinoff of its credit card unit. Page 4 COMMUNITY BANKING: PACIFIC BANK'S shares soared 40% after the San Francisco company signed a letter of intent to be bought by Western Bank of Oregon for at least $20 a share. Page 7 MINNESOTA banks will receive refunds totaling about $327 million after a court ruled last month that they were illegally taxed on earnings they made on federal obligations from 1979 to 1983. Page 7 MORTGAGES: THE STOCKS of mortgage company have continued to idle at low levels, as a faded takeover boom and continued concerns about market conditions dampen investor enthusiasm. Page 9 FIRST SECURITY Corp. of Utah, which purchased Crossland Mortgage last May, says falling loan demand and stiff competition have taken a toll on the unit and hurt the parent company's earnings. Page 9 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS: BFP FINANCIAL Partners Inc., a two-year old broker-dealer in Baltimore, will help Hudson United Bank of Mahwah, N.J., launch an investment products sales program. Page 12 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs: VISA'S new senior vice president of consumer credit products, Richard Bialek, says, "The idea is that you need to keep pursuing changes even when things are going well." Page 16 THE CONVENTION of the National Retail Federation is not on most bankers' travel circuit, but it is a big gathering place for bankers' technology. Page 17 TECHNOLOGY: CHEMICAL Banking Corp. has become the second institution to originate automated clearing house transactions through a fledgling network, known as PAX, that allows banks to bypass the Federal Reserve System. Page 14 KEYCORP, which recently conducted one of the largest bank mergers in the United States, has signed with Broadway & Seymour Inc. for the software that will handle trust processing at the postmerger bank. Page 13 FINANCE: JOHN MASON of Interstate/Johnson Lane, who is known as a sharp stock picker, argued at an analysts' roundtable that a historic buying opportunity is at hand and that NationsBank is a best buy. Page 24
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