Anticipating the unification of bank and thrift charters, the OTS is floating a plan for a new community bank charter that would scrap restrictions on bank ownership and ensure equal access to credit. Page 2

Bankers urged the Office of the Comptroller against forcing national banks to comply with New Jersey's lifeline checking law, saying the move would create a compliance nightmare. Page 3


A small bank in California has established a merger and acquisitions unit to provide acquisition financing and advice to other community banks, and to generate more fee income for itself. Page 6

When Alan W. Ott turns 65 in December, he'll have to relinquish his job as chief executive of Michigan's Chemical Financial. It's a rare case of a mandatory retirement rule in effect at a community bank. Page 7


With regulators starting risk-based exams this year, many banks are scrambling to adopt policies addressing threats to their institution's business. Not Natwest. Its risk policies are already a year old. Page 8


During House Banking hearings on the performance of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, Rep. Richard H. Baker criticized the agencies for failing to justify the government-sponsored financial benefits they enjoy. through their congressional charters. Page 10

New Jersey's acting banking commissioner is offering to help Fleet Financial borrowers holding high-rate mortgages cut their interest charges and investigate whether the loans violated any state laws. Page 10


First Michigan is overhauling its brokerage to jump-start sales and slow the loss of assets, dumping its full-time brokers in favor of platform sales and hiring wholesalers to push its proprietary funds. Page 12

In a survey of mutual fund buyers, two-thirds said they had considered the risk factor before buying shares in a stock or bond fund. Three- quarters indicated they considered risk second only to performance. Page 13


What is it that drives consumers to choose bankruptcy over other ways of resolving debt problems? The main factor, writes Visa's Kenneth Crone, is a lack of awareness of alternatives to bankruptcy. Page 14

The Credit Union National Association has reached out to its member leagues to borrow about $4.5 million. The funds are to bolster the association's battered credit card unit. Page 15


In a bid to take bank business from Hewlett-Packard and IBM, Sun Microsystems has unveiled a new line of powerful computing systems meant to be low-cost alternatives to mainframes. Page 16


A prominent investment banker predicted that banks will dominate the investment banking business within a decade. Page 22

The Federal Reserve is ready to begin testing a plan to let banks set their own capital requirements for trading and derivatives operations. Back page


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