REGIONAL BANKING: LOUIS A. SCHMITT JR. heads a new capital markets group at First Union Corp., which is putting up big money to compete with Wall Street. Page 6 SHAWMUT NATIONAL has reassigned vice chairman Eileen S. Kraus, one of the highest-ranking women in banking. Some think she's being shunted aside. Page 8 WASHINGTON: A CONSUMER GROUP led by Ralph Nader says banks don't make it clear to customers that signature cards are actually contracts, with binding provisions. Page 4 AG LENDERS hoping Congress will shield farm programs from the budget ax. Page 3 COMMUNITY BANKING: LEADER FINANCIAL Corp., Tennessee's largest thrift company, put its new capital to good use last year, increasing earnings by 135%. Page 9 FIRST BANKS Inc., St. Louis, which recently announced three acquisitions in Southern California, says it will inject $5 million of capital into a fourth institution, QCB Bancorp, Long Beach. Page 9 COMPLIANCE: AN FDIC official says banks should start preparing for tougher exams by yearend. Page 12 STATE NONMEMBER banks can now forgo disclosing how much they are paid by the third-party firms handling securities transactions. Page 12 MORTGAGES: NORWEST CORP. is acquiring a $15 billion servicing portfolio and operations center from Barclays Bank PLC. Page 13 A FANNIE MAE program that provides consumers with detailed information about the homebuying process has been an "outstanding" success, says the agency's chairman. Page 14 TECHNOLOGY: CORESTATES announced an effort to streamline the payor-payee relationship of two of its largest corporate clients with a financial EDI service. Page 19 UNIBANK, the second-largest bank in Denmark, has become the sixth in Europe to join the Ibos Association. Page 20 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS: THE LIBERTY Mutual division that helps banks sell investments has laid off nearly a tenth of its staff, including its chief financial officer. Page 15 CHASE MANHATTAN Corp. kicked off a new approach to selling investments through its branches. Page 15 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs: A COUPLE of billion credit card solicitations flooded consumers' mail boxes in 1994, but most ended up in the circular file. Page 17 FINANCE: SHARES OF Shawmut National Corp.'s shares soared Wednesday on rumors the New England regional would be acquired. Page 24 SEVERAL MAJOR banking companies have already reshuffled investment portfolios in anticipation of Wednesday's rate hike by the Fed. Page 24
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