The thrift fund rescue has cleared the way for a wide open debate in this Congress on merging the bank and thrift industries and expanding industry powers. Page 4


A battle for Orange County bragging rights is raging as consolidation heats up among Southern California community banks. Page 5


Even though Marine Midland has the size to be a more acquisitive presence in its home turf of western New York, its chief executive is in no rush to gobble up other institutions. Page 6

Supermarket branches rang up another big year. Those with full service jumped 40% last year to 4,398 at yearend, according to a study by International Banking Technologies. Page 7


American Banker asked executives at various mortgage-related companies to talk about the outlook this year for their own business and the industry at large. Page 8

Is there any chance that mortgage originations this year could match 1996's level, estimated at just under $800 billion? It's a long shot. Page 9


To get closer to wealthy families, Bankers Trust New York's private bank is ramping up a socially responsible investment program. Page 10

Compass Bancshares hired a former adviser to NationsBank's private bank as chief financial officer of its fledgling asset-management group. Page 11


Despite selling part of its credit card processing business to a National Data subsidiary, Electronic Data Systems is no less intent on being a major force in the industry. Page 14


A question bankers once faced in their branches - whether to deploy personal computers or "dumb" terminals - has returned with the advent of network computers. Page 15


At least 35 banks signed on to the latest and largest version of the blockbuster loan for Norfolk Southern led by Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan. Page 21

Raytheon is expected to fund its planned $2.95 billion cash acquisition of Texas Instruments' defense electronics holdings with an existing credit facility arranged in 1995. Page 21


Soaring bank stocks and a strong track record by mutual funds specializing in banks and financial services companies could generate a wave of similar funds this year. Though few in number, the ranks of these funds have increased significantly in recent years. "Investing in financial services companies has been profitable," said A. Michael Lipper, president of Lipper Analytical Services. "It only makes sense that more will come." Page 22

Shares of NationsBank, which completed its acquisition of Boatmen's Bancshares Tuesday, may be poised to pick up new momentum. Back page

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