WASHINGTON

Nicolas Retsinas, the newly appointed director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, writes about the future of the government agency. Page 3

REGIONAL BANKING

Just nine months after moving into its 28-story headquarters in downtown Winston-Salem, N.C., Wachovia is considering more construction. Page 6

COMMUNITY BANKING

Buoyed by the pending acquisition of Boston's Grove Bank, Massachusetts community bank and thrift stocks are rallying amid speculation about continuing takeovers. Page 8

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

Seven of the initial 12 bidders for Great Western Financial's mutual fund complex, Sierra Capital Management, dropped out, industry insiders said. Page 9

The president of Marquis Investments, the brokerage unit of Louisiana's First Commerce, is organizing a referral system for the company's retail brokers. Page 11

MORTGAGES

Even as banks grow more dependent on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, they are lobbying the government to sharply increase the capital that must be held by the housing finance agencies. Page 12

PMI Mortgage Insurance signed up a leading nonprofit organization, Neighborhood Housing Services of America, to use its automated underwriting and mortgage-scoring system for loan originations. Page 12

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

Two banks, a utility, and Visa are piloting a system with the federal government to pay bills electronically. Page 14

Another merchant transaction company, National Bankcard Association, is gearing up for an initial public offering and has accepted nearly $6 million in investments. Page 15

TECHNOLOGY

ON-LINE BANKING:

The Joint Electronic Payments Initiative is striving to create transactional standards for the Internet, even though its members keep trying to outdo one another competitively. Fabrice de Comarmond, a French executive and JEPI core member, said the consortium's aim was to foster commerce by making the payment process easy and seamless. Page 16

Global Concepts, an Atlanta-based consulting firm, created an on-line forum to let bankers and vendors swap electronic commerce war stories and exchange ideas. Page 18

FINANCE

Some subprime auto loan specialists are trying to firm up their sagging stocks by financing cosmetic surgery not covered by health insurers. Back page

As bank stocks continued to fall, analysts began to zero in on a select few that continue to offer investment opportunities. Back page

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