WASHINGTON

BANKERS FLOODED the Farm Credit Administration with letters, complaining about a proposal they say would unfairly expand the role of government- backed agricultural lenders. Page 2

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER Trent Lott vowed that insurance restrictions would not be included with legislation to shore up the Savings Association Insurance Fund, signaling a victory for banks. Page 2

REGIONAL BANKING

NORTHERN TRUST will open a Detroit office to serve master trust customers that it hopes to lure from First Chicago NBD, which is getting out of the business. The operation will start off with seven people, but that number is likely to increase, said Sheila A. Penrose, executive vice president of corporate and institutional services. "This is a client servicing center," she said. "As business continues to expand, we'll expand our office." Page 4

MAGNA GROUP started an alliance with a Chicago-area automobile finance company that specializes in subprime lending in its continuing drive to boost fee income. Page 5

COMMUNITY BANKING

A STATE JUDGE dealt a stinging blow to a California hedge fund that's trying to make a Massachusetts thrift sell. Page 6

A CADRE OF former Old Kent Bank officers in Michigan completed one of the most successful stock offerings for a recent bank start-up, raising $10 million by selling one million shares. Page 6

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

BANK OF BOSTON selected SEI Corp. to administer and distribute the mutual funds it acquired in the recent takeover of BayBanks. Page 10

FIRST DATA snared the top lawyer from Fleet Financial's investment products business for a key post in its growing mutual fund servicing division. Page 11

MORTGAGES

THE MIDWEST is seeing more big percentage increases in home prices than any other region, a recent study of values in major metropolitan areas found. Page 12

MORTGAGE BANKERS are stepping up their use of technology to speed originations and improve customer service after years of sitting on the sidelines, a new study said. Page 13

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

AMERICAN EXPRESS hopes to pull off in Latin America and the Caribbean what it accomplished in Europe by filing antitrust complaints against Visa International with local governments. Page 14

FIRST VIRTUAL Holdings of San Diego tapped the former head of a GE Capital Services unit to run its financial services. Page 16

FINANCE

KEYCORP EXECUTIVES suggested that if its stock price rises much higher, the bank may slow or halt its share buyback program. Page 22

COMMERCIAL LENDERS are generally positive about their market - but don't expect easy credit if you're a retailer. The sector is subject to a "continuing malaise" that started in the spring, leaving lenders cautious of retailers that need loans. Page 22

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