WASHINGTON

Bankers generally support a massive Fed proposal to make it easier for holding companies to acquire firms and enter new businesses. Page 2

Treasury Under Secretary John D. Hawke Jr. insisted last week that the mutual thrift charter will not be eliminated when the bank and thrift industries are merged. Page 4

REGIONAL BANKING

A former leasing executive at Chase Manhattan was arrested and charged with embezzling more than $14 million from the bank. Page 6

First Mutual Bancorp., of Decatur, Ill., plans to buy three central Illinois branches, with $160 million in deposits, from First of America Bank Corp. Page 6

MORTGAGES

Countrywide Credit Industries, which has made a big splash this year in the subprime lending market through its wholesale division, is now planning to offer these loans through retail outlets as well. Stanford L. Kurland, president of its mortgage banking subsidiary, said Countrywide would have six to eight subprime retail offices open by February. Page 8

Freddie Mac developed behavior models that distinguish a late-paying mortgage borrower with a temporary cash crunch from one in the throes of serious financial trouble. Page 8

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

Michigan's First of America Bank Corp. snared some of the highest honors in a test of investment performance by bank-managed mutual funds again. Page 11

INSURANCE: Huntington Bancshares became the latest bank to enter the life insurance sales game when it acquired the assets of an insurance agency in its hometown. Page 12

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

Giving its cardholders a nudge to maintain or transfer balances, AT&T Universal Card Services lowered interest rates. Page 22

COMMUNITY BANKING

Low-priced tomatoes coming across the Mexican border are cutting into the profits of Florida's tomato growers - and the banks that lend to them. Page 25

SMALL BUSINESS BANKING

The nation's largest banks have been gaining market share in small- business lending, and the smallest have been losing ground. Page 27

TECHNOLOGY

Bank technology stocks turned in a mixed performance last week despite a surge in the broader market. Page 28

QuestPoint, CoreStates Financial's transaction processing unit, agreed to acquire the check processing business of Bisys Group. Page 29

MARKET MONITOR

The U.S. personal savings rate declined sharply in recent years, but not because frugality is a forgotten virtue. Page 39

FINANCE

Thomson BankWatch lifted the debt ratings of Chase Manhattan and Citicorp a notch higher than other rating agencies. Back page

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