THE FINANCIAL services industry applauded the Senate's unanimous passage Tuesday of a landmark bill that streamlines the registration of mutual funds. Page 2

AFTER SEVEN years of legislative near misses, the banking industry finally won the battle to clarify when lenders are liable for environmental cleanup costs. Page 3


CONGRESS' PASSAGE of the long-awaited thrift fund fix couldn't have been better timed, as far as Pennsylvania's community banks and thrifts are concerned. Page 4


FIRST BANK SYSTEM said it would buy Comerica's municipal and corporate bond trustee division for an undisclosed sum. The Minneapolis-based bank, which claims to run one of the nation's largest bond indenture services, has been an aggressive acquirer in recent years. The acquisition adds "scale and further geographic diversification to our leadership positions in the corporate trust business," said First Bank chairman John F. Grundhofer. Page 7


THE MORTGAGE INDUSTRY'S ability to capture and analyze huge amounts of information about borrowers has resulted in a redefinition not only of who is a good credit risk but what makes a good customer. Page 8


THE NEW JERSEY Bankers Association's annual trust conference focused on the liability issues banks face concerning the environmental contamination of real estate. Page 11


CARD FRONTIERS: The smart card industry is crying foul about a report calling the security of the technology into question. Page 12

TWO MONTHS after the Olympics, realism has settled in to evaluations of the Visa Cash card experiment in Atlanta: Post mortems suggest the smart card test was instructive but not definitive. Page 13


THE FEDERAL RESERVE cut prices on some electronic funds transfers, and says the cuts are evidence that its operational consolidation is saving money. Page 14


A YEAR AFTER the merger of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroads, the new entity has no plans to ask commercial banks to get off the train. Page 22

INVESTORS ARE demonstrating an almost insatiable appetite for asset- backed securities, but some analysts say they could present risks to buyers in the future. Back page

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