AMSOUTH COST CUTTER C. Dowd Ritter will take over as chief executive Jan. 1, the Alabama-based bank confirmed. It's "the next logical step," says retiring CEO John Woods, who's had the job since 1972. Next summer Mr. Ritter will also succeed him as chairman.

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FIRST BANK SYSTEM says Wells Fargo has greatly underestimated the divestitures needed for regulators to let it buy First Interstate. Page 5


THE SENATE CONFIRMED Joseph H. Neely as a member of the FDIC board, bringing it to full strength for the first time since 1992. The vote capped a six-month ordeal for the former Mississippi banking chief,

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IN A DECISION that could affect all publicly held banks, a judge has ruled that a financial institution must warn investors of loan troubles even if its overall financial health is good.

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IT LOOKS LIKE NationsBank will be growing again - but this time against its wishes. The Georgia Supreme Court upheld an order that it go through with its deal to buy First Federal Savings of Brunswick, Ga.

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WEST DES MOINES State Bank aims to parlay the relationships it has developed with rural Iowa banks into a formal correspondent banking business. Page 6


TRACY GARY says she's "the Dr. Ruth of Money," because she encourages women to ask questions about it. Since 1982 the heiress has run Resourceful Women, a support and educational organization for female investors.

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PETER J. SUCCOSO, former president of the Bank Securities Association, has quit his job as mutual fund chief at Wilmington Trust amid a reorganization of investment management operations. The old-line company has been moving aggressively into money management.

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CHEMICAL has won a $2,000 ATM case against New York's Emigrant Savings - in small claims court.

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TEN OF THE TOP 25 U.S. banks are in the midst of projects to install new retail branch automation systems, according to a study.

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J.P. MORGAN STOCK was downgraded by Brown Brothers Harriman to "hold" from "buy." Analyst Raphael Soifer cut his earnings projections, saying his previous one for next year was "wishful thinking."

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FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS must do better at convincing analysts that they have adequate control over their capital market risks, according to a KPMG Peat Marwick study. Back page


FANNIE MAE held a tight grip on the securitization business of the nation's largest lenders this year, grabbing most of the business of Countrywide Funding, Norwest Mortgage, Fleet Mortgage Group, and others.

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AFTER YEARS of focusing on conventional loans, Fleet is making home equity and subprime mortgage loans priorities. Page 8

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