J.A. "Gus" Blanchard is prepared for the day when check volume stops growing. But the CEO of Deluxe Corp., which prints more checks than any other U.S. company, isn't writing them off. Page 4 WASHINGTON Regulators say they'll make sure the "year 2000 problem" doesn't cause loan losses or data errors. Page 2 A mortgage company is asking the Supreme Court to decide whether state judges can reinterpret federal regulations. Page 3 REGIONAL BANKING At least a dozen of Great Western's top 100 executives came over from First Interstate Bancorp--and thus have experienced a hostile takeover battle twice in just more than a year. Page 6 Strides in technology and the merger boom helped the nation's top banks post impressive gains in profitability last year. Page 7 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS Scudder is going after a prized demographic sector: aging baby boomers. Page 20 CORPORATE FINANCE First Union will enter the equity underwriting business this year. Page 21 MORTGAGES Executives at last week's MBA conference swapped firsthand accounts of strategies they use to avoid losing customers. Page 22 Decision-making in the lending business is shifting from branch networks to home offices. Page 23 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs CARD FRONTIERS: Ohio is pushing ahead with a shift to smart-card-based food stamps. Page 24 COMMUNITY BANKING M&A activity has heated up in the South, with two deals that would give Georgia and Arkansas new billion-dollar institutions. Page 26 MARKET MONITOR Worries about share buybacks could cause problems for eight small thrifts making initial public offerings this week. Page 34

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