WASHINGTON:

THE SENATE could approve regulatory relief legislation as early as next week. The package would cut paperwork, space out exams for small banks, and shield banks from environmental liability.

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IN WHAT WOULD be the first case of its kind, the Justice Department is reviewing whether a national bank violated fair-lending laws by treating married and unmarried couples differently.

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REGIONAL BANKING:

KEYCORP HAS TAPPED its top Florida executive, who has a record of turning banks around and developing them, to oversee the burgeoning Rocky Mountains market.

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TECHNOLOGY:

W. KIRK DOMINGOS 3d, head of technology at rebounding Hibernia in New Orleans, is spending three times as much this year as last. His bank is a prime takeover candidate, but "we want to make sure that whatever happens, we are in the position of offering the services that our customers need," Mr. Domingos says.

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TREASURY SERVICES Corp., a leading developer of profitability software, is buying Worth Information, which markets customer information data base products. The objective: better tools for analyzing customer profitability.

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COMMUNITY BANKING:

IN TEXAS THESE DAYS, most aggressive community banks have chosen to grow by acquisition. But a few that aren't playing the game are growing anyway. "Our weapon," says the head of one, "is personal customer service."

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MORTGAGES:

CREDIT SCORING has a long way to go as a tool for mortgage analysis, says Fitch Investors Services. The observation comes in a report meant to address the interests of investors in mortgage-backed securities.

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THE FED has been studying how shopping for a home and a mortgage can go awry. It was searching for "points where the possibility of discrimination could creep in," an official said.

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INVESTMENT PRODUCTS:

BANK BROKERAGE units, which languished during last year's dismal bond and stock markets, have sprung back. Brokerage chiefs say a surge since April in sales of equity-based mutual funds helped banks generate fee-based profits.

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CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs:

MASTERCARD and American Express have been collaborating on technology to let point of sale terminals accept smart cards from different issuers and manufacturers.

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PEOPLE'S BANK of Bridgeport, Conn., may soon follow in the tracks of MBNA, Advanta, and Household International by opening a credit- card operation in the United Kingdom.

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FINANCE:

INSIDERS at credit card companies have been unloading their shares in the last few months, amid rising concern over consumers' ability to pay off their debt.

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FRANK J. BARKOCY, one of Wall Street's senior banking industry analysts, has left Advest Inc. He said he was told the firm would be shifting research resources away from regional banks.

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