America's Community Bankers president is concerned that penny-pinching by the Justice Department will let small-time bank robbers escape federal prosecution. Page 2

Fed up with trade group disputes that have blocked financial services reform, House Speaker Newt Gingrich wants to form a task force to iron out legislation in the next Congress. Page 4


BankAmerica is about to declare war in Ohio by blitzing middle-market lenders in the first two weeks of November. Page 7


Fannie Mae is jumping into the subprime arena by offering access to automated underwriting for nonconforming loans. Page 8

HUD and VA officials used a panel discussion at a San Francisco mortgage bankers conference to tout rising homeownership and silence congressional critics. Page 8

With the thrift fund fix behind them, thrifts should turn their attention to the role of the Federal Home Loan banks, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, the outgoing chairman of America's Community Bankers says. Page 9


What kind of insurance should banks be selling? Three sales executives from prominent underwriters gave markedly different answers at an Atlanta conference. Page 10

Fleet Financial hired a managing director to run its retirement services business, filling one of two vacancies atop its investment products unit. Page 10

The new head of Lehman Brothers' private client services division is working to create an integrated asset management operation at the old-line brokerage. Page 11


CARD FRONTIERS: Three technology companies will jointly market smart card systems for automated fare collections. Page 12


California Bankers Clearing House invested $250,000 in Arizona's Primary Payment Systems, a fledgling company aimed at thwarting check fraud. Page 14

First National Systems and Banctec joined the parade of software companies into the Windows applications market. Page 14


Months after selling their New Jersey community bank to Summit Bancorp for a big profit, three former directors are taking on the regional through a start-up. Page 15


Societe Generale, France's third-largest bank, said it may sell up to a third of its equity and property holdings in a move analysts said was designed to raise cash for an acquisition. Page 22

Mercury Finance shares gyrated wildly after the subprime auto lender, citing an accounting change, revised 1995 earnings downward and raised its reserves against losses. Shares in the Lake Forest, Ill., specialty finance company plummeted Monday, but regained much of the lost ground Tuesday. Back page

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