WASHINGTON:

big banks are asking Congress to forbid state regulators from discriminating against their insurance offices.

Page 2

THE OCC will today propose easing restrictions on investment in community development lenders. Page 2

REGIONAL BANKING:

Norwest, piecing together a Texas franchise, is buying $450 million-asset Benson Financial in San Antonio.

Page 4

A FORMER CITI executive who sold its Arizona franchise two years ago and then quit banking has been hired to lead Banc One's operations in the state.

Page 4

COMMUNITY BANKING:

SHAREHOLDER activists pushing for higher returns are giving executives of mutual thrifts in New England second thoughts about converting to stock form. "It's a difficult thing to deal with," says Stanley J. Lukowski, CEO of Eastern Bank Corp., a mutual in Lynn, Mass.

Page 6

WHEN AMERIHOST, the big Illinois hotel company, needs construction financing, it turns to local community banks, not its big-bank credit facility.

Page 6

MORTGAGES:

STALLED BUDGET TALKS are subtly affecting the mortgage market. Budget worries seen behind a slight rise last week in 30-year fixed rates despite the Fed rate cut. Page 7

COMPLIANCE:

A GOOD WAY to monitor for loan bias is to use statistical analysis to pinpoint possibly troublesome loan files for review, writes consultant Arthur R. Preiss Jr.

Page 9

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS:

AS THEY RING IN the new year, mutual fund companies that sell through banks are readying an expanded array of sales support and training programs.

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BANKS ARE RELYING on a captive audience of traditional corporate customers to gain a bigger share of money market assets.

Page 10

TECHNOLOGY:

AS THEY FIGHT customer flight to nonbanks, banks can learn a lesson from Wal-Mart, writes Unisys strategist George M. Bollenbacher.

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CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs:

CREDIT CARD MARKETERS are increasingly turning to outsourcing.

Page 14

FACED WITH DECLINING mail-order response rates and indications of market saturation, credit card issuers are being forced to refine and redefine their methods for identifying prospects.

Page 15

FINANCE:

NATIONAL CITY's investment banking unit is gaining momentum in its efforts to build a full-service brokerage operation.

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