SPECIAL REPORT:

THOUGH MOST BANKS are newcomers to the mutual fund business, they're becoming old hands at managing retirement dollars. The third annual edition of Masters of Mutual Funds focuses on nine banks that are capitalizing on the retirement savings boom. Pullout section.

REGIONAL BANKING:

THE THIRD QUARTER was a winner for a slew of southeastern regionals that reported last week. Signet said profits were up 15%, Amsouth 5%, First Tennessee 17%, and Synovus up 23%. Even Southern National, despite acquisition-related charges, was level with a year earlier.

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COMMUNITY BANKING:

FALLING PRICES for cattle over the past year have prompted agricultural bankers to take a closer look at borrowers in the business. Page 8

MARK TWAIN Bancshares holds all the cards as acqurirers come to the table, observers say. Page 9

CREDIT UNIONS:

AFTER 13 MONTHS of sparring with examiners and jumping regulatory hurdles, Lusitania Federal Credit Union on Sept. 1 became Lusitania Savings Bank. But so far the first credit union ever to convert to a mutual savings bank hasn't had a chance to catch its breath, let alone relish victory. Page 10

CALIFORNIA credit unions are switching to federal charters to avoid taxes. Five did so in the first nine months of the year, and more are expected to follow. Page 11

MORTGAGES:

THE AGENDA at the annual Mortgage Bankers Association conference in San Diego this week has more weighty political items than usual. Among them: Respa, HUD rulemaking, and the future of the FHA program.

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ST. LOUIS-BASED Boatmen's Bancshares is making Memphis the home of its thriving mortgage business.

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INVESTMENT PRODUCTS:

CHASE MANHATTAN is forging ahead with plans to expand its mutual fund family, even while preparing to merge with Chemical.

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A FIRST INTERSTATE buyout would give a boost to Wells Fargo's shrinking money management business.

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CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs:

IF THE CIRRUS BOARD agrees next month, a consumer holding an ATM card with a Cirrus logo could make deposits at any machine in the network. But industry sentiment seems to be running against the idea. Page 32

TECHNOLOGY:

MANY PUBLICLY TRADED financial technology companies reported higher quarterly earnings last week. Payment systems firms made especially strong gains. Page 22

WASHINGTON:

BRUCE MORRISON, chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board, had barely heard of it a year ago. Now he's preparing to overhaul it. Page 4

AFTER YEARS of waiting, bankers are optimistic that Congress will finally restore some luster to individual retirement accounts. Page 3

FINANCE:

SHORT INTEREST in bank-related stocks traded on the New York and American stock exchanges grew 3.1% in the month that ended Oct. 13. Analysts cited merger-related hedging - and suggested that a negative view of an industry may have crept back into the market.

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