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


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


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


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


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.

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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.

Page 10

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

Page 10


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

Page 12


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


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

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