WASHINGTON: STRENUOUS OPPOSITION by Kansas bank regulators failed to sway the Comptroller's Office, which gave Bank Midwest permission to move its main office from Lenexa, Kan., to Kansas City, Mo. Page 2 NO RATIONALE remains for a thrift industry devoted to mortgages, now that funding for home loans is cheap and plentiful, maintains William A. Cooper, chairman and chief executive of TCF Financial. Page 4 REGIONAL BANKING: UNITED COMPANIES Financial, a once high-flying home equity lender, fell to earth last year amid shrinking net interest margins and fraud at its title insurance subsidiary. Now a disgruntled shareholder has complained about antitakeover provisions adopted by the board. Page 6 THE PROXY FIGHT at Compass Bancshares has taken another bizarre twist as chairman and chief executive D. Paul Jones Jr. is said to have discussed an in-market merger with one or more of the other four large Alabama banks. Page 6 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS: MANY COMMUNITY banks arrived on the investment products scene just as the bottom fell out of the market, making it tough at times to drum up business. But several bankers said in interviews that they are making the best of it. Page 9 MORTGAGES: THE HOME EQUITY season has arrived, and some lenders say they already are reaping the rewards. None too soon; January was "pretty nasty" in one lender's words. Page 10 IF EXPANDING homeownership is a national goal, then we should direct the government's limited resources toward the segment of the market that needs help the most: lower-income, first-time homebuyers, writes Suzanne Hutchinson of Mortgage Insurance Companies of America. Page 11 COMMUNITY BANKING: THE $230-MILLION merger between North Carolina's CCB Financial Corp. and Security Capital Bancorp could crumble due to CCB's depressed stock price. Officials of both companies, however, expressed confidence the deal would close. Page 12 COMPLIANCE: THE FINANCIAL Crimes Enforcement Network, defending before Congress its plea for an 8.2% budget increase, promised to reduce banks' regulatory burden. Page 14 ACCUSING THE FED of trying to go beyond the law's intent, some industry experts are questioning the central bank's latest interpretation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Page 15 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs: GEMPLUS GROUP, the French company that leads the world in chip card production, said it finished 1994 with revenues equivalent to $205 million, 44% better than in 1993, and with profits rising proportionally. Page 17 TECHNOLOGY: PRICE WATERHOUSE Management Consulting Services and Informix Software Inc. announced a joint effort to offer data warehousing services to financial institutions and other companies. Page 18 UNISYS, one of the nation's top computer makers, bought TopSystems International, a European software vendor whose products are expected to complement Unisys' line of banking software. Page 19 FINANCE: THE TWO MAJOR bank acquisitions announced this month make it clear that strategic priorities are driving the merger market - not trading values. This contradicts many market observers, who have linked a merger resurgence to revived trading values among predatory institutions. Back page JUST AS BANKERS are regaining the courage to lend on commercial property, some experts are predicting a significant aftershock of the realty crisis that so recently shook the industry to its foundations. Page 22
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