WASHINGTON

Following last week's decision in the Barnett case, the Supreme Court took two more steps that will solidify the banking industry's rights to sell insurance in small towns. Page 2

A study by the Federal Reserve asserts that minority-owned banks are on average 5% less efficient than banks not owned by minorities. Page 2

MORTGAGES

The manager of the world's largest pension fund remains bullish on mortgage-backed securities, but sounds a note of alarm for mortgage bankers: "Keep up your credit standards." Page 6

In spite of the current craze for home equity loans, mortgage experts at a Florida conference warned that the high times won't last forever. Page 7

REGIONAL BANKING

First Union is dropping hints that it plans a massive cutback of its branch network, hoping to offset the closures by increasing use of telephone call centers. Page 5

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

NationsBank couldn't make it work. Neither could NBD. But that hasn't kept Nashville's First American from starting a unit to help small banks break into the brokerage business. Page 8

Bank executives are realizing that the structure of compensation for their investment brokers can be as crucial as the amount, writes Paul A. Werlin. Page 9

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

Trans Union, the Chicago-based credit bureau, is teaming up with a nonprofit group serving Los Angeles' inner city to present borrowing seminars, during which urbanites can obtain free copies of their credit reports. Page 11

Fiserv said it has merged two of its units, forming the nation's second- largest card servicing organization. Page 12

COMMUNITY BANKING

New Jersey's Ocean Federal Savings has found an ingenious way to use capital from its conversion to stock ownership. It is forming a tax-exempt community foundation. Page 14

Oklahoma's banking commissioner says a recent OCC decision effectively overruled state branching laws and gave national banks an unfair advantage over their state counterparts. Page 15

TECHNOLOGY

More than 30 banks have already signed up to take part in home banking services to be offered by Visa and Microsoft. Page 17

IBM is testing an on-line clipping service designed to help publishers reap their just rewards from Internet users who order their articles. Page 17

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