WASHINGTON

The American Council of Life Insurers sued the government Tuesday for allowing Magna to retain insurance offices in Missouri after converting from a state to a federal charter. Page 2

To help banking companies compete for securities underwriting deals, the Fed proposed tearing down more than a dozen firewalls that prevent banks and section 20 units from working together. Page 3

REGIONAL BANKING

Seattle's Washington Mutual has solidified its grip on subsidiary American Savings Bank. Top management changes in Seattle have centralized decision-making for Irvine, Calif.-based American, which Washington Mutual bought last month. Kerry Killinger, chairman of Washington Mutual, said the company wanted to position itself "quickly for future growth for acquisitions." Page 6

INTERNATIONAL

Wachovia agreed to buy a Brazilian bank from Portugal's Banco Commercial Portugues SA, breaking with a long-standing policy of not opening full- fledged banking offices overseas. Page 8

First Union is nearly invisible in Hong Kong, but the bank is quietly building its presence in the Asian market. Page 9

COMMUNITY BANKING

A Michigan bank's well-known penchant for inventive advertising may be hurting its bottom line, according to some stock analysts who are calling for cutbacks. Page 10

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

Zurich-Kemper Investments hired a 20-year bank veteran to boost its presence in the bank marketplace. Page 11

MORTGAGES

The future looks brighter for about a dozen ex-employees of subprime lender Center Credit, now that they've been hired as a unit of Inland Mortgage. Page 12

IMC Mortgage agreed to acquire CoreWest Banc, a Los Angeles loan originator, for an initial payment of 244,202 common shares, valued at about $10 million. Page 13

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

Bank United in Houston engineered a solo flight in credit card enhancement by designing its own air-miles program for Visa classic and gold cards. Page 14

TECHNOLOGY

ON-LINE BANKING: Beneficial National is offering loans over the Internet through two popular "supersites" created by H&R Block and Intuit. Page 16

Checkfree established and filled a chief technologist post in an effort to better organize its electronic commerce operations and development programs. Page 19

MARKET MONITOR

Thrift stocks still lag the big banks' issues in terms of performance, but analysts say this may be the year that the thrifts come back. Back page

The inventor of trust-preferred securities left Goldman Sachs to join Merrill Lynch last week, and some Wall Street observers say his move could ignite a heated battle among investment banks for new-product talent. Back page

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