WASHINGTON

Citicorp chairman John S. Reed joined the board of the Banking Industry Technology Secretariat, taking the 10th and last seat open to members of the Bankers Roundtable. The group, known as Bits, expects to present a strong, united front on issues relating to electronic banking, security, and privacy. Page 4

The OCC's new operating subsidiary rule opens the door to universal banking, possibly foreshadowing the demise of the sturdy old holding company structure. Page 4

COMMUNITY BANKING

Agricultural bankers are boning up on how to be educators, as well as lenders, to farmers in the post-farm-subsidy era. Page 9

SMALL BUSINESS

Birmingham's four largest local banks are all over the map as they expand their small-business banking divisions. Page 10

New Jersey's Summit is one of the first banks to participate in the Small Business Administration's revamped microloan program, which issues loans to start-up businesses. Page 11

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

Massachusetts bankers are grappling with a state tax law that hinders them from taking advantage of tax-free trust conversions into mutual funds. Page 13

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

A California company developed a new distribution channel for marketing credit cards that allows consumers to come to one place to comparison-shop. Page 14

Chase Manhattan seems to be quietly sweeping a credit card rewards program it inherited from Chemical under the carpet. Page 14

MORTGAGES

With interest rates on 30-year mortgages dropping below 8% nationwide, some lenders are wondering whether a new refinancing wave is beginning. Page 16

TECHNOLOGY

Bank technology stocks remained flat last week, despite the continued surge in the general market. Page 18

Even as financial and competitive pressures drive an increasing number of technology companies out of the bank outsourcing business, Peerless Systems decided it wants in. Page 20

CORPORATE FINANCE

Wells Fargo joined the small crowd of banks that are knocking down interstate barriers for corporate customers. Page 24

MARKET MONITOR

Bank buyback programs are at an all-time high this year, and bank executives are using them to cash in on lucrative stock options. Page 25

Good news on U.S. inflation and moderating growth may not be enough to dissuade the Fed from raising short-term interest rates, some Fed officials and Wall Street analysts say. Page 31

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