COMMUNITY BANKING: FENDING OFF a broad array of rivals, the top 50 agricultural banks boosted their lending markedly last year. They increased their holdings of agricultural loans by more than 11%, well ahead of the 7% growth in such loans posted by the banking industry as a whole, according to an American Banker survey. Page 6 SEVERAL WEEKS after the two top executives of Boston Bancorp resigned, the embattled thrift is suing the former president's brother, accusing him of overcharging it by at least $80,000 in brokerage fees. Page 7 WASHINGTON: CHAIRMAN Jim Leach warned members of the banking committee that any effort to permit mergers between banks and insurance companies would backfire on the House floor. Page 2 COMPTROLLER of the Currency Eugene A. Ludwig was to announce Saturday the formation of a National Credit Committee to help examiners keep tabs on credit underwriting standards at the nation's largest banks. Page 2 REGIONAL BANKING: IN WHAT MAY BE a harbinger of other banks' results, Centura Banks reported strong loan growth in the first quarter - but shrinkage of its net interest margin as deposit costs rose. Page 4 CITIBANK is planning to open a representative office in Tel Aviv and has scheduled a return to Beirut, Lebanon, for later this year. Page 4 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS: NATIONAL CITY Corp.'s plan to purchase a full-service brokerage could be the start of a trend among banks seeking to boost mutual fund sales, industry experts say. Page 8 CREDIT UNIONS: THE HUNT for deposits to feed loan growth takes on more urgency at credit unions facing liquidity squeezes because much of their money is tied up in medium-term investments. In 1994, loans grew nearly five times faster than deposits. Page 14 THE PRESIDENT of Western Corporate Federal Credit Union warned last week that imminent federal regulations limiting investments might hobble the industry's liquidity centers. Page 15 MORTGAGES: SOME OF the pain for home builders caused by last year's interest rate hikes continued into the first quarter, analysts said. And builders that also engage in mortgage banking are feeling a double blow. Page 11 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs: MASTERCARD International announced two key executive appointments that it said will further strengthen and streamline the organization for global expansion. Page 18 TECHNOLOGY: IN ITS BIGGEST deal to date, the outsourcer Fiserv Inc. announced last week it has agreed to acquire Information Technology Inc., a bank software firm, for $373 million in cash and stock. Page 12 SEEKING to succeed where other investment firms have failed, Bear, Stearns & Co. has rolled out a voice recognition system for its equities trading operation. Page 13
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