WASHINGTON

As Congress moves to merge the bank and thrift charters, a marriage of the industries' biggest trade groups appears ever more likely. Page 3

REGIONAL BANKING

Dime Bancorp has a deal to pay $92 million - a 10% premium to deposits - for a nine-branch New York thrift. Page 4

BankAmerica intends to close 30 branches in California in the coming months, while opening as many as 50 supermarket branches. Page 4

COMMUNITY BANKING

An Indian tribe that owns a casino seems to have won its fight with California for the right to buy a bank. Page 7

MORTGAGES

Investors in Cityscape Financial breathed a sigh of relief last week after Michael Price, an aggressive investment manager with Franklin Mutual, bought out the Cityscape stake held by a promoter whose history and associations had been a source of rumors. The share price has improved since the private buyout. Page 8

Lower interest rates are turning the normally slow holiday season into a lending wonderland. Page 9

SMALL BUSINESS

Banks have rediscovered an innovative weapon in their battle with nonbank financial companies: direct equity investments in small businesses. Page 12

More of the nation's fastest-growing companies are financing their expansion with existing lines of credit and cash flow rather than taking out new bank loans, according to Coopers & Lybrand. Page 13

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

Mellon's Dreyfus Corp. is aiming its new Lion Account, which combines banking and investment services, at a new kind of customer: women earning $90,000 a year. Page 14

TECHNOLOGY

Bank technology stocks took a dive Friday, amid a general market drop and some sobering comments from Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan. Page 16

Though banks keep on opening more branches than they close, it looks like spending on branch technology will be down about 7% this year. Page 17

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

Salvation Army kettles in Akron, Ohio, take plastic this year as well as cash. Page 19

The seven owners of Mondex USA, the U.S. franchise of the global smart card payments organization, have ambitious plans for 1997. Page 21

MARKET MONITOR

Banks vary widely in the steps they are taking to protect themselves against rising consumer debt, Merrill Lynch says. Page 25

Interest rates are likely to come down if the consumer price index is adjusted to stop overstating inflation. Page 25

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