BANKAMERICA Corp., the top home equity lender among commercial banks, saw its portfolio shrink during the refi boom. But the California giant remains committed to the business, insists senior vice president Catherine Graeber. Page 10 COMMUNITY BANKING: CONSERVATIVE Savings Bank, Omaha, is regrouping after a 67% decline in first-quarter earnings brought on by rising interest rates and losses from bond sales. Page 6 ESSEX BANCORP, a Virginia thrift holding company struggling to survive, said it suffered a $1.6 million loss in the first quarter. Page 6 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS: Companies that help banks set up and run investment programs have gained a panel that will lobby for them in Congress, statehouses, and even an industry-related regulatory body. Page 8 FLEET FINANCIAL Group is taking its Galaxy family of annuities in a new direction. Page 8 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs: NATIONAL CITY Corp. said it will use its merchant processing power to initiate a purchasing card program. Page 12 AMERICAN EXPRESS' travelers check group has signed an agreement to acquire Special Teams Inc., a company that designs payment systems based on stored- value cards. Page 12 TECHNOLOGY: AN ALLIANCE between MCI Communications Corp. and Maxxus Inc. to develop an affordable electronic data interchange service for community banks has all but collapsed. Page 15 FINANCE: BANKS ARE GETTING better at monitoring derivatives risk, a top regulator acknowledged - but he added that management oversight is still inadequate. Back page IN COMING to market with a three-year note issue dominated by the yen, BankAmerica Corp. turned to investors that have not been tapped recently by U.S. banks. Back page
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