WASHINGTON

"Account takeover" is not a merger phenomenon. It is one of several types of financial fraud that have emerged in the past few years in tandem with the rise of banking technology. Page 2

All that stands between thrifts and a $3 billion is a presidential signature, now that the Senate has passed a bill forgiving $3 billion in taxes on bad-debt reserves built up before 1988. Page 3

REGIONAL BANKING

The big story for southeastern banks in the first quarter was what did not happen. Loan growth and fee income remained strong, helping stave off the threat of credit quality problems. Page 4

Wells Fargo is the target of a wave of unusually blunt advertisements attacking its merger with First Interstate. Banking "used to be a very clubby industry, and now it's getting fierce," said one ad man. Page 4

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

Advanta took the first- quarter lead in the horse race to boost profitabili ty among the nation's four bank card specialists . The Pennsylvani a card issuer boosted net income by 33% and added more than 675,000 new accounts - a 44% increase. First USA, Capital One Financial, and MBNA Corp. were hot on Advanta's heels. Page 26

SMALL BUSINESS

The new Chase is unleashing 1,300 sales employees on a national sales blitz designed to rejuvenate its small-business lending operations. Page 29

COMMUNITY BANKING

On pastoral Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound, Stephen M. Walden has quietly fashioned a powerful thrift that has $1.4 billion in assets and ambition to spare. Page 30

As the rising cost of working the land outstrips the income from harvest, many farmers - and their lenders - are coming hard to the realization they need to earn nonfarm income. Page 31

MORTGAGES

Home lenders - even in upbeat portions western states - were weighing the bad signs after reports of declining housing and lending indexes. Page 32

Even though originations were off, California's top three thrifts posted solid quarterly earnings, with H.F. Ahmanson earning $64.8 million against a loss a year ago. Page 32

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

To entice outside brokers to move more product, Great Western Financial has raised sales charges on retail shares of its stock mutual funds. Page 34

TECHNOLOGY

Strong first-quarter profits helped bank technology stocks regain some ground last week. Page 35

MARKET MONITOR

The stock markets have largely ignored bankers' speculation about global financial empires. But at least one analyst says the movement toward universal banks is well under way. Page 41

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