WASHINGTON:

AFTER WEEKS of negotiations, House Banking Chairman Jim Leach introduced a combined bill to grant banks new securities powers and relieve the industry of some regulatory burdens. Page 2

BANKS MAY HAVE LOST a defense against redlining charges. If mortgage lenders have been guided by the belief that low-income neighborhoods mean declining home values, they've been making a mistake, two Fannie Mae economists say. Page 3

REGIONAL BANKING:

ROBERT M. FREEMAN, chairman and chief executive of Signet Banking, said he will retire at the end of next year at age 55. Mr. Freeman made the Virginia bank a pioneer in the use of direct-mail marketing.

Page 4

COMMUNITY BANKING:

SMALL BANKS and thrifts in the Southeast recorded mostly modest earnings gains in the third quarter, with performances marked by solid loan demand, tough deposit competition, and sustained margins. Page 6

AS IF DEALING with nationwide interstate banking and branching weren't taxing enough for community bankers, many also face uncertainties over how they will be taxed. Page 6

COMPLIANCE:

THE FED is giving banks software designed to increase mortgage lending to low-income borrowers. If an application is rejected, the program comes up with changes that could make it acceptable. Page 8

WHILE REGULATORS are crafting new examinations for the Community Reinvestment Act, examiners will focus on five of the current 12 assessment factors. Page 9

MORTGAGES:

LENDERS may soon be approached by real estate agents seeking payments in exchange for steering borrowers their way, a leading industry analyst says. Page 14

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS:

WELLS FARGO is equipping its brokers with computer software from American Skandia that profiles customers interested in its variable annuity and picks an investment style for them. Page 10

CONSULTANTS at a conference said banks need to provide better pay for trust officers and money managers to keep pace with nonbank competitors. Page 11

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs:

DEAN WITTER DISCOVER is still absorbing the marketing costs of launching new card products this year. American Express, meanwhile, is reaping the benefits of a similar investment. Page 17

TECHNOLOGY:

CRESTAR FINANCIAL is installing a branch automation system based on Microsoft's Windows NT computing platform. Page 12

FINANCE:

INVESTORS FEAR a "yes" vote on independence for Quebec could raise interest rates across Canada and severely retard loan growth there. Back page

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