THE FEDERAL RESERVE Board has proposed exempting many types of stored- value cards from electronic funds transfer regulations. Page 3


FIFTH THIRD Bancorp has lured away lease origination officers from two competitors to open leasing offices in Detroit and Pittsburgh. Page 4

DOWNEY FINANCIAL Corp., a $4.6 billion-asset thrift in Newport Beach, Calif., has struck a deal to become one of the state's largest operators of supermarket branches. By yearend the thrift plans to open 40 branches in Hughes Family Markets in five counties in Southern California. Page 4


DESPITE SETBACKS in their search for legislative relief, bankers may have a back-door route for tax-free conversion of common trust funds into mutual funds. Page 12

NATIONAL WESTMINSTER BANK has another big challenge for Paul Feeney, the 32-year-old who helped create the bank's life insurance marketing operation: to help turn its private bank, Coutts & Co., into a fixture among the world's affluent. Page 13


FIRST NATIONAL Bank of Anchorage stock is like Alaskan gold: It's hard to find, but a little bit is worth a lot. Page 6

A DISSIDENT shareholder lost a proxy battle last year to install an independent slate of directors at New Jersey's IBS Financial Corp. But instead of fading away, he bought more stock in the company. Page 7


SMALL and medium-size banks have shrunk their auditing departments in the past five years, leaving the watchdogs with bigger work loads, a survey found. Page 8

THE IBAA has released Regcomp, a computer-based training program designed to help employees learn about regulations in their spare time. Page 8


FIRST AMERICAN Financial Corp. has agreed to buy the software firm Residential Information Services, one of the final pieces in Prudential Insurance Corporation of America's mortgage company. Page 10


WACHOVIA Bank Card Services has decided to keep its credit card processing in-house. The Atlanta-based unit of Wachovia Corp. manages a $4.5 billion credit card portfolio - 19th in the bank card industry. Page 14

DIEBOLD INC. said it has formed a campus card division, by combining three areas of its business. Page 15


THE NOTION that many bank reengineering efforts are failing to bring about their promised performance improvements is supported in a study. Page 16

A BANK, a major payment processor, and a software company announced plans to adopt Microsoft Corp.'s specifications for home banking payment processing. Page 16


SEVERAL LARGE banks planning significant share repurchases will have to delay them because of a recent Securities and Exchange Commission guidance, a prominent Wall Street analyst said. Back page

BANK EARNINGS were likely inflated by 20% in the last quarter, says a veteran industry analyst. That means their shares trade well above nominal price-earnings multiples and probably have little room for price gains. Back page

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