MORE THAN 90% of banks responding to a recent Federal Reserve survey said they had used a month-and-a-half loophole to reclassify some securities as available-for-sale, giving themselves more flexibility in investment strategies. Page 2

ROYAL BANK OF CANADA gained the Fed's permission to invest in Meca Software. It's the first time a bank has been allowed to purchase a company that produces nonbanking software. Page 2


PENNSYLVANIA's FNB Corp. capitalized on its long-standing relations with Southwest Banks of Florida by agreeing to acquire the Naples-based institution. Page 6

AT LEAST ONE ANALYST was perplexed by Bay View Capital's deal to acquire CTL Credit. The San Mateo, Calif., bank, under pressure from shareholders to sell itself, opted to make a buy. Page 7


WHEN WILLIAM FARLEY resigned last week as vice chairman of Minneapolis' First Bank System, it was the second time it had ousted him. In 1988 he was canned after challenging some investment policies as too risky. This time he was asked to resign in what was called a "management streamlining." Page 4

HOPING TO BOOST consumer banking business in its home state of Michigan, Comerica has tapped a former Amex executive to be executive vice president of community banking. Page 4


WRANGLING WITH THE IRS over the value of fine art can tie up estate settlements for years. But the agency hopes to simplify the chore by allowing for advance statements of value Page 8

SUNTRUST BANKS, already rocked by several high-ranking departures from its asset management unit, lost the head of its institutional investment sales division. He quit to join a local investment boutique. Page 9


HOME SAVINGS OF AMERICA is centralizing the underwriting and processing of its home loans. The A.H. Ahmanson unit, the nation's largest thrift, is aiming to cut costs. Page 10

WITH THE NATION's homebuying spree expected to wind down during 1996, lenders are seen likely to boost sagging volume by financing a new wave of renovations. Page 10


A STUDY by Ernst & Young revealed that retailers tend to overestimate the role of credit card acceptance in attracting customers to their shops. Page 11

UNITS OF DataCard and France's Bull Group announced management changes intended to gear up to push new smart card products. Page 13


BANKAMERICA brought its community development bank to Washington, D.C., and almost immediately won kudos from community activists Page 14

MICHIGAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION is helping small banks get a jump on regulators by publishing a newsletter cataloging actual questions posed by bank examiners during on-site interviews. Page 14


IN THE WAKE of its merger with First Fidelity, First Union is upgrading its private data network with a new, high-speed transmission system. Page 18

AT&T'S MOVE to cover credit card fraud losses incurred by users of its on-line service should be a shot in the arm for electronic shopping. Page 18


FLEET FINANCIAL has set up a corporate finance group to help it digest its acquisition of Shawmut and prepare for the purchase of Natwest. Back page

J.P. MORGAN named Nicholas B. Paumgarten co-head of its mergers and acquisitions unit. Mr. Paumgarten had been co-head of Morgan's financial institutions and real estate group. Page 22

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