1995 WAS the Year of the Big Deals, with bank mergers and acquisitions tripling to a total value of more than $73 billion, a new high. Rankings of the top 150 deals and more.

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TWO INFLUENTIAL members of the House Banking Committee are asking Chairman Jim Leach to cut regulatory relief legislation free from a bill to reform Glass-Steagall.

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BANKERS AND LAWMAKERS transformed the California Museum of Science and Industry into a battleground for Fed-sponsored discussions of the takeover of First Interstate.

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THE 65,000 PEOPLE attending the Builders Show in Houston didn't mind that they had to compete with the Super Bowl hubbub emanating from Arizona.

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BATTERED BY RISING credit costs and administrative expenses, the nation's largest thrift, H.F. Ahmanson & Co., reported fourth-quarter earnings that were sharply below expectations.

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FIRSTAR chairman Roger Fitzsimonds made his name cleaning up a troubled loan portfolio. Now, the 57-year-old banker faces a bigger task: cutting 2,500 jobs - 26% of Firstar's work force.

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NATIONSBANK's vice chairman - one of the company's top five officers - is taking early retirement, starting Wednesday.

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RABOBANK of the Netherlands is capturing the attention of U.S. farm lenders with its rapid growth and big plans.

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CUTS IN GOVERNMENT payments to farmers have not increased loan delinquencies, but are likely to have an impact on credit availability, a recent survey says.

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FOR THE FIRST TIME since 1993, a slowing economy and growing consumer debt have increased credit union holdings of loans tied up in bankruptcy proceedings - by 21.7%.

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THE CREDIT CARD chief at Credit Union National Association resigned shortly before the release of a report about spinning off portions of its card operations.

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FIRST UNION is making a play to expand its brokerage operations into the Northeast by using tellers in newly acquired branches to sell mutual funds and annuities.

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FIDELITY INVESTMENTS is hiring eight sales representatives to beef up support for banks and trust departments that sell mutual funds.

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VISA HAS UPPED the ante for domestic operations by hiring an executive to manage credit product management in the United States.

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THE NATION'S LEADING TOY manufacturer and a New York bank are offering a cobranded Visa card that rewards users with U.S. savings bonds.

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VERIFONE was one of a number of financial technology firms that posted solid results for 1995.

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IBM PROMOTED a longtime finance executive to the newly created position of worldwide general manager for banking, finance, and securities.

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MBNA Corp.'s long-term debt ratings are being reviewed for a possible downgrading by Moody's, which said it was "concerned" about the allegiance of the bank's cardholders.

Back page

INVESTORS at an ABA gathering said they want more information, and more time to study it, before they commit any more funds to asset-backed securities.

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