MICROSOFT'S Matt Cone tried to mollify bankers at a recent conference, but apparently with little success. Page 16 WASHINGTON: PRIVATE MORTGAGE insurers were twice as likely to reject minority applicants as whites in a Federal Reserve study of data from 1994. Page 2 THOUGH MUCH of the federal government was expected to shut down this morning, the banking agencies had arranged to stay open for business as usual. Page 2 REGIONAL BANKING: SAN FRANCISCO-BASED First Nationwide is selling four New Jersey branches and $510 million in deposits to Midlantic. The sum was not disclosed.

Page 6 SMALL BUSINESSES are increasingly open to electronic services, and the timing couldn't be better for the big banks trying to reach that market, according to a recent survey. Page 7 COMMUNITY BANKING: A SAVINGS BANK in Brooklyn, N.Y., is planning to buy out a competitor and convert to a stock institution in one fell swoop - without running afoul of federal regulators. Page 20 NEARLY EVERYTHING about Home Financial of affluent Hollywood, Fla., says takeover candidate. The second-largest public thrift based in Florida is twice as efficient as the average thrift - and about twice as profitable.

Page 20 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS: ASSETS MANAGED by banks and trust companies grew 12.4% last year, while those managed by brokerages and investment banks declined, according to a study. Page 10 SIGNET BANKING has set up a unit to pitch its mutual fund asset allocation product to small and midsize banks. It will begin a mass mailing to executives at more than 500 banks and thrifts before the Thanksgiving holiday. Page 11 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs: FIFTH THIRD's Midwest Payment Systems is spending millions of dollars on technology in a bid to become the premier transaction processor in the electronic funds transfer world. Page 23 DISCOVER CARD has renewed its holiday promotion, the Big Payback, which it kicked off last year to increase card usage and sales and bring in new cardholders. Page 22 FINANCE: VARIOUS FORMS of rate risk have quite different and changing levels of productivity, and banks must continually assess historical and prospective returns to optimize exposures, write consultants Alden Toevs and Robert Zizka. Page 26 MORTGAGES: SOME home equity lenders have achieved phenomenal growth in the first six months of 1995 through new marketing plans, expansion of product lines, and broader geographic reach. Page 12 LOW RATES and affordable prices have created a window of opportunity for first-time homebuyers, and leading indicators point to more of the same. Page 13

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