WASHINGTON:

WARY OF jobs lost during big mergers, the Kansas Senate is considering a bill that would give the state the power to block deals if they would result in layoffs.

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THE COMPTROLLER's office expects to finish a rough draft of insurance sales guidelines for banks in two weeks. The next step is a draft of exam procedures to make the new guidelines stick.

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COMPLIANCE:

BANKERS AND REGULATORS are pleased so far with examinations under streamlined CRA rules. "It was definitely less burdensome," said one community banker.

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GIVEN THAT 1995 was a banner year for banking, it's probably no surprise that the number of enforcement actions reported by regulators declined markedly from the previous year.

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REGIONAL BANKING:

WHEN FIRST UNION's railcar leasing subsidiary bought an Illinois firm, it got 3,100 freight cars and some of the most advanced technology in the niche business.

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TAKING ITS CUE from other regionals, Fleet Financial has set up an independent trade finance unit for customers doing business in Asia and the Pacific Rim.

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MORTGAGES:

SAYING THE MORTGAGE process takes too long, home builders this year are looking to form alliances with mortgage companies.

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FANNIE MAE's vice chairman urged secondary market executives to let the agency help them securitize their old loans, thereby reducing risk.

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COMMUNITY BANKING:

BANKERS ARE being warned away from an apparent money-laundering scam originating in Nigeria and reportedly involving embezzled funds and bribe offers.

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FIVE YEARS after being dumped as Pacific Western's president, James Kenny is back at the top of his game - having led San Jose National Bank to 17 straight quarterly earnings increases.

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INVESTMENT PRODUCTS:

WHEN IT COMES to lending to the wealthy, the risks may be unusual, but they most definitely exist, bankers at an ABA conference were warned.

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IN BRINGING trust and private bankers together at a unified conference, the ABA took a symbolic step toward dissolving the long- standing barriers between the two banking functions.

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CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs:

NATIONSBANK has augmented its traditional business card with the ability to handle travel and entertainment expenses.

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TECHNOLOGY:

WAS A NETWORK security firm doing bankers a favor by publicizing what it called a significant threat to the security of on-line payments? Or was it grabbing for publicity?

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THE FEDERAL RESERVE has bought a Banctec image archiving system for U.S. government checks.

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FINANCE:

ROOSEVELT FINANCIAL, preparing to convert from a thrift to a bank, is taking a $34.8 million hit on its balance sheet for the fourth quarter of 1995 to account for a decline in the value of futures contracts used as a hedge.

Back page

BANKERS HAD WORRIED that the SEC's ruling that First Bank System couldn't make an immediate post-merger buyback signaled the demise of a strategy that helped drive mergermania in 1995. Not so, observers say.

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