North Fork Bancorp. of Melville, N.Y., had the nation's best efficiency ratio last year, despite operating in one of the nation's most expensive locales. In this month's cover story the bank's chairman and chief executive officer, John A. Kanas, tells how it keeps itself so lean. Pullout section


The Fed on Wednesday will propose allowing banks to offer limited credit enhancements to customers who buy underwriting services from securities affiliates. Page 2


New York-area banks and financial services companies aren't going to do a lot of hiring in 1997, but they will add more staff than they did last year, according to the New York Fed. Page 4


Glendale Federal has broken into agricultural lending in its ongoing effort to diversify away from real estate. Page 7


Many banks are hoping that innovative small-business lending efforts will gain them CRA credit under new regulations that take effect in July. Page 8


Borrowers may have been scarce during the holidays, but mortgage bankers were busy examining ways to be more productive in the new year. Page 10


The mutual fund marketplace is growing ever more complicated as products and pricing options proliferate, and that bodes well for financial advice- givers, says A. Michael Lipper, president of Lipper Analytical Services. He predicts that brokers, financial planners, and bankers will be more in demand. "You need a well-trained set of eyes to help you in these decisions." Page 12

ABN Amro, the Dutch financial powerhouse, has unsuccessfully courted almost every U.S. money manager on the auction block since 1992. Page 13


Bank tech stocks were mixed for the week amid negative earnings forecasts for several key firms. Page 16

The New York Clearing House Association's push to increase direct deposit participation in New York City is successful in some quarters but is meeting resistance in others. Page 17


Credit Suisse First Boston is expected shortly to begin syndicating a loan totaling about $950 million to support California Energy's $1.31 billion acquisition of Britain's Northern Electric. Page 19


Though investors warmed to bank stocks in 1996, the number of banks and thrifts going public fell off from previous years. Page 20

After Wall Street's stirring year of record highs, several economists caution that the stock market may have outpaced the nation's economy and be due for a breather. Page 20

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