Whitney Holding Corp. in New Or- leans is managing a delicate balancing act. Chief executive William L. Marks wants to reach out to the mass market without compromising the bank's status as an icon in the city's business community. But building the retail bank is a challenge. Pullout section

WASHINGTON

International organized crime has become technologically sophisticated, a Congressional panel was told last week, and the tide card fraud and money laundering will keep rising unless banks banks keep up. Page 3

COMMUNITY BANKING

Though large ag lenders are steadily losing ground on farm operating loans, smaller lenders are continuing to hold their own, according to an American Banker analysis. Page 4

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

Merrill Lynch & Co. is wrenching small-business financial assets away from banks using a full-featured cash management account with pricing that makes it hard to resist. Page 6

Bankers Trust has launched a fund family meant for retail investors. The BT Advisor Funds will be sold through national and regional brokerages, as well as financial planners and mutual fund networks such as Schwab' OneSource. Page 6

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

MBNA has gone platinum. It's no-fee Platinum Plus MasterCard and Visa cards will be offered to people who qualify for high credit lines. Page 10

Debit cards should not be limited to ATM and point of sale use, U.S. Bancorp's vice chairman says. Rather, they should provide entree to a full menu of services. Page 8

REGIONAL BANKING

A North Carolina bank plans to use a federal loophole pioneered by BankAmerica Corp. to apply for a de novo thrift charter in Georgia. Page 11

Pittsburgh's Integra Financial, soon to be bought by Cleveland's National City, has lost another senior executive, the second this year. The CEO of Integra Bank Pittsburgh will join an investment firm that the holding company's former president is setting up. Page 12

MORTGAGES

In Pennsylvania, Pennrock Financial Services has formed a new mortgage subsidiary. In California, Imperial Credit Industries is spinning off its subprime mortgage operation. Page 14

Wall Street has been patient with H.F. Ahmanson's plans to boost returns by plunging into consumer finance. Now some analysts' patience with the giant thrift is wearing thin. Page 16

TECHNOLOGY

NationsBank said it will offer PC banking service through Meca's Managing Your Money. The bank is a part owner of the software company. Page 20

Analysts think the contemplated spinoff of Moneygram, the consumer funds transfer network that First Data had agreed to divest, would be a hit with investors. Page 18

MARKET MONITOR

Many specialty finance companies have shaken off the bruising they took in the stock market last fall and are approaching all-time highs. Page 25

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