WASHINGTON:

THE BUDGET STALEMATE is a mixed blessing for banks - even though the delay in the balanced budget bill means postponement of banks' $600 million-a-year tab to help finance the thrift bailout.

Page 2

THE SECRET to making banks more efficient? Three government researchers say it's the combination of involved shareholders and managers who own a stake in the company.

Page 2

COMMUNITY BANKING:

SMALL BANKS that push fee-based services rather than cutting costs may be making a mistake, a University of Minnesota study suggests.

Page 4

SILICON VALLEY Bank, nearly killed by losses in commercial real estate, is back in its original niche: lending to high-tech companies.

Page 5

TECHNOLOGY:

JOHN E. STEURI, chairman and chief executive officer of Alltel Information Services and one of the luminaries of the bank data processing business, will retire in May.

Page 12

SWIFT, the bank-owned global financial messaging service, has launched several new interbank communication formats, including some for securities trading.

Page 12

REGIONAL BANKING:

FIRST UNION's profits surged 13% in the fourth quarter, largely on stronger noninterest income. Wachovia's net rose 3% despite weakness in its credit card portfolio.

Page 6

MILWAUKEE'S FIRSTAR, under the gun to restructure costs or face a takeover, is inching closer to an announcement that could result in major cuts - including the elimination of hundreds of jobs.

Page 7

MORTGAGES:

FANNIE MAE's net earnings rose a whisker last year, to $2.14 billion - even after a big contribution to the Fannie Mae Foundation.

Page 8

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS:

SEVERAL FUND FIRMS are encouraging bank brokers to play up future tax code changes in their marketing pitches. Van Kampen American, in fact, has worked up a reference guide on how the likeliest proposals would affect particular investments.

Page 10

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs:

EUROPAY, the MasterCard affiliate that runs the Eurocard and Eurocheque programs, has launched a yearlong effort to modernize its payment and information network. It is replacing IBM minicomputers with client/server systems from Hewlett-Packard.

Page 11

AN EQUIFAX UNIT is teaming up with IBM to expand its credit and debit card services business internationally. Page 11

FINANCE:

THERE'S A GROWING SENSE that First Bank System won't be able to raise its bid for First Interstate, because doing so would hurt its stock price.

Back page

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.