WASHINGTON:

BANKERS overwhelmingly oppose a Federal Reserve Board proposal to let the industry voluntarily collect data on the race and gender of small- business loan applicants. Page 2

THRIFTS and banks hoping to blunt the earnings impact of capitalizing the Savings Association Insurance Fund by writing off the expense over three years were thwarted by Financial Accounting Standards Board opposition. Page 4

REGIONAL BANKING:

JEFFREY MACK had grown frustrated during nearly 17 years as a bank commercial lending officer at the shackles on his creativity, so he founded Olympic Financial to compete in the auto loan market. Five years later, it has emerged as serious competition for banks. Page 5

REGIONS FINANCIAL's recent decision to enter the Atlanta market by focusing on its wealthy suburbs illustrates the fact that the attractive metropolitan area now offers only niche opportunities for acquirers. Page 7

COMMUNITY BANKING:

DAVID G. MASSAD, chairman of Commerce Bank and Trust, Worcester, Mass., has acquired a 9.9% personal stake in a competitor bank that has resisted his proposal to merge. Page 8

THREE THRIFTS illustrate the argument of banking executive and consultant Anat Bird that the difficult leap into commercial banking can be executed effectively. Page 9

MORTGAGES:

CORESTATES FINANCIAL, eager to raise its profile as a mortgage lender, is expanding its corporate-affinity strategy to include home loans. Page 10

THOMAS H. STANTON, a lawyer and longtime critic of government-sponsored enterprises, says this is the right time - when they are healthy - to take up the touchy issue of privatizing the housing finance agencies. Page 10

CONCENTRATION in the mortgage industry makes selecting the business model appropriate for any individual bank a prime issue, writes consultant David M. Partridge. Page 11

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS:

RETIREMENT PLAN marketing is taking a new twist at some banks as more corporate customers ask for plans that cater to wealthy executives, who have been restricted by a new tax law in the amount they can put into qualified retirement plans, such as 401(k) or profiting sharing. Page 13

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs:

WRIGHT EXPRESS has announced it will support and process a new proprietary commercial fleet fueling card for Mobil Oil Corp. Page 14

TECHNOLOGY:

A NEW GLOBAL clearing house built to streamline interbank foreign exchange settlement recently handled its first transactions, but some bankers wonder whether London-based Exchange Clearing House can attract the volume needed to be profitable. Page 16

FINANCE:

FEDERAL RESERVE policymakers, apparently confident about the outlook for the nation's economy, opted not to push down short-term interest rates further. Some observers, however, believe the Fed could and should provide easier credit. Back page

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