REGIONAL BANKING In banking, the mentoring process is alive and well, functioning as an important part of career advancement, with executives scouring the ranks for talent and helping nurture those who will succeed them. Page 5 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS With securities regulators still months from hammering out a rule governing how banks sell mutual funds, some bankers wonder whether the market hasn't already dictated guidelines. Page 7 INSURANCE: Cole Taylor Financial Group devised a system for selling life insurance in which its lending officers bring insurance specialists to their meetings with clients. Page 8 COMMUNITY BANKING Vallicorp Holdings is casting off parts of its branch network before it merges with a Northern California rival. And other banks are ready to snap up offices and customers that come with them. Page 10 To provide shareholders with a more liquid stock, Southwest Bancorp., the largest community bank in Houston, went public. Page 10 WASHINGTON As the controversy over Comptroller of the Currency Eugene A. Ludwig's presence at a Democratic National Committee function resonates, the regulator is expected to press forward with new powers for banks. "I do not see any fallout," said a prominent banking lawyer. Page 2 For Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union, the stakes in the continuing legal battle over credit union expansion are becoming painfully clear: the loss of customers and a new sponsor. Page 4 MORTGAGES Norwest Mortgage, Des Moines, and PMI Group, a mortgage insurer, have begun sending encrypted mortgage insurance applications over the Internet. Page 12 THE MERCURY MESS Mercury Finance handed off the massive cleanup job brought on by its earnings readjustment to a turnaround specialist and sometime adviser to President Clinton. Page 13 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs MasterCard said it will educate its 2,300 member banks about the microcredit program, which offers small-business loans to poor families to help them become entrepreneurs. Page 14 TECHNOLOGY Barnett plans to install new software in its auto-dealer lending unit to accelerate underwriting and to help solidify relationships with subprime lenders in Florida. Page 17 MARKET MONITOR Wells Fargo shares were downgraded by Deutsche Morgan Grenfell. Page 22
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