COMMUNITY BANKING: SHEILA CRAWFORD, who recently assumed leadership of the National Association of Urban Bankers, says community banks are important players in inner-city development despite their declining numbers. Page 6 ARROW FINANCIAL of New York is selling about half of its formerly troubled Vermont subsidiary, Green Mountain Bank, to Mascoma Savings Bank, Lebanon, N.H. Page 6 COMPLIANCE: TWO NATIONAL BANK regulators predicted that compliance officers would soon be spending more time on two fronts: interstate branching and nondeposit product sales. Page 8 IN A NEW STAFF commentary on Regulation B, the Fed has backed off a plan to specify that banks defending lending decisions adversely affecting minorities or other protected classes under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act must cite a "business necessity." Page 9 MORTGAGES: THE OFFICE of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight has confirmed what many lenders have said all along: The automated underwriting systems and related technologies that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are developing will shift many lender functions to these agencies. Page 12 WITH THE RUMOR mills unusually quiet, two unsolved mysteries remain in mortgage company merger circles: Who bought ITT Residential Capital Corp.? And who's likely to buy Prudential's mortgage business? Page 12 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS: GNA CORP., a top annuity company that has emphasized selling its wares through banks, is striking out in a new direction, agreeing to buy American Express Life Assurance Co., a specialist in long-term-care insurance. Page 14 BANK TRUST ASSETS grew at a snail's pace last year, according to a consulting firm's survey of performance in about 150 bank trust departments. Assets increased a mere 1% in 1994, down from an 8% gain in 1993. Page 15 TECHNOLOGY: IBM HAS JUMPED on the electronic commerce bandwagon with its recent product introduction. The computer-network-based products and services are aimed at letting companies manage and secure financial transactions sent over the Internet. Page 18 CHASE MANHATTAN has repackaged several home banking products and services. Observers interpreted the move as Chase's competitive response to Citicorp's recent renunciation of most fees for retail electronic banking transactions. Page 19 FINANCE: A SURGE in bank stock prices this year means banks are again selling for twice book value. Analysts expect the increase in the value of acquirers' shares - the currency banks often use to buy other banks - to spur merger activity. Back page
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