REGIONAL BANKING: EARLY RETURNS from Signet Banking's use of information-based technology in its commercial bank suggest the company's loan growth this year could be stronger than many on Wall Street expect - 23% to 25%, one analyst predicts. Page 6 REGULATORS WILL require Fleet Financial Group to divest itself of a lot more of its business than it has offered to do so far, observers say, in order to acquire Shawmut National. Page 6 WASHINGTON: THE OCC has decided to let PNC Bank Corp. merge its Kentucky and Ohio banks serving the Cincinnati market. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency invoked the so-called 30-mile rule. Page 2 COMMUNITY BANKING: CATHERINE GHIGLIERI was unknown in Texas banking circles when she was named state banking commissioner three years ago. But she has imbibed the dual- banking-system religion and become one of the most high-profile state regulators. Page 10 JEFFERSON BANCORP no longer has typical customers. When the Miami Beach bank opened 30 years ago, a typical customer was a 72-year-old retiree from Newark, N.J. Today, that customer could be a Cuban immigrant, a high- fashion model, a German businessman, or maybe even Cher. Page 12 CREDIT UNIONS: BOEING EMPLOYEES Credit Union is bracing for turbulence as its giant sponsor makes yet another round of job cutbacks. Last month, the Boeing Co. announced plans to trim 6,000 to 10,000 engineering and management employees. Page 14 JAMES R. BELL, president of U.S. Central Credit Union, has resigned, citing interference from the industry's largest trade group. In a strongly worded letter, he said that serving two masters - the Credit Union National Association and U.S. Central - was damaging the latter. Page 15 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS: TRADITIONAL PENSION plans, frequently dismissed as a sleepy backwater of banks' investment management business, could be important to the growth of bank-managed mutual funds. A consultant recently forecast a resurgence in the defined-benefit business. Page 16 TECHNOLOGY: BANK TECHNOLOGY stocks staged a robust rally last week, as the equities market soared on signs the economy was indeed on the way to a so-called soft landing. Page 18 THE BACK OFFICES of investment firms, brokerages, and custodian banks are all gearing up for an attempt by the U.S. securities business to squeeze out operational risk in the settlement of the hundreds of thousands of stock trades that take place every business day. Page 18 MORTGAGES: IN A BREAK with private mortgage insurers, the Los Angeles-based Western League of Savings Institutions has decided it opposes plans to "radically restructure" the Federal Housing Administration. Page 21 WEEKLY DIGEST: BANKS' PROFITS set a record last year as they rose 3.7%, to $44.7 billion. That and other articles from last week's American Banker are reviewed. Page 22 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs: A COBRANDED credit card was issued by two subsidiaries of Ashland, a Kentucky-based petrochemical company, in an alliance with National City Bank of Columbus, Ohio. Page 24 AN UNSAVORY PAST has come back to haunt the industry just as secured credit cards were winning over some big players. The secured card program of Farrington Bank, New Brunswick, N.J., has been under investigation for a year by the state banking department. Page 24 FINANCE: INSIDER BUYING in the banking industry slowed in late January and in February, and insider selling increased as stock prices rebounded from 1994 lows. Back page THE MINI-RALLY in bank stocks last week faded Friday amid fresh market fears that the industry's earnings outlook is weak - leaving banks without a positive investment story of their own. Back page
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