REGIONAL BANKING: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, which law enforcement officials call the bank robbery capital of the world, got substantially tamer in the first half of this year, as robberies plunged 37%. Page 6 WASHINGTON: A RESCUE PLAN for the undercapitalized thrift insurance fund will be unveiled Friday at a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, Chairman Alfonse D'Amato told reporters at an international banking forum at Chase Manhattan headquarters in New York. Page 2 A U.S. ATTORNEY urged a federal judge to dismiss a challenge of a rule allowing only banks to operate electronic benefit transfer systems, a move that could preserve the banking industry's lock on government EBT contracts. Page 2 SMALL BUSINESS: FRANK LOURENSO of Chemical Bank has parlayed his 33 years of street-level experience into a knack for bringing small businesses in through the door - and forget the high-pressure sales pitches. Page 7 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS: THRIFT HOLDING company H.F. Ahmanson has joined the ranks of financial institutions offering brokerage accounts that diversify assets among a range of mutual funds. Ahmanson is the second thrift-related institution to offer a mutual fund wrap account. Page 8 PAUL N. WATTERSON Jr., a lawyer who advises private banking departments, says banks that sell sophisticated investments "should certainly have some kind of disclosure statement to give to customers, explaining the risk of the transaction, and getting them to acknowledge that they have evaluated it." Page 9 COMMUNITY BANKING: SMALLTOWN BANKS in the West are hoping that a boomlet in loan demand will carry their gains of the first half of 1995 through the margin squeeze of the second half. Page 10 PROFESSIONAL bank observers say the key to discerning a bank headed for the tank is excessively rapid growth, writes Paul Nadler. A second test is whether the bank is staying in its own territory or trying to expand outside it. Page 11 MORTGAGES: LENDERS and their customers are starting to make big use of the Internet. A recent search on the worldwide computer network found 102 sites related to home mortgage lending. Page 16 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs: G. HENRY MUNDT 3d, chief executive of Cirrus System, thinks he has a pretty good idea what the future holds for card services. He cites the growth of electronic commerce, direct banking initiatives, and the increasing interest in home banking and bill payment projects as proofs of interesting times to come. Page 18 MOST OF THE high-tech transportation case studies were about radio frequency technology and magnetic-stripe cards rather than smart cards at a recent conference that sought to build bridges between transit uses and the chip-based cards. Page 19 TECHNOLOGY: CUNA MUTUAL Group, an insurance agent for credit unions, is negotiating a deal to sell home banking products from CFI ProServices that offer the connection for customers to gain access to their accounts. Page 12 CHEMICAL BANK appointed Yawar Shah general manager of its global treasury management services, a new unit within Geoserve, the bank's fee-based services subsidiary. Page 12 FINANCE: THE FIXED-INCOME market's decline and upward adjustment of interest rates after the July 19 testimony of Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan was long overdue. He dispelled the widely held view that the economy is on a downward spiral that would require further easing of rates. Page 22
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