WASHINGTON Members of the Fed's Consumer Advisory Council said regulators should stop giving Community Reinvestment Act credit to banks that charge inner-city customers to cash checks. Page 2 CORPORATE FINANCE Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan are putting together an $11 billion financing package for Norfolk Southern, backing its plan to acquire and split Conrail with CSX. Page 5 COMMUNITY BANKING At least 100,000 cattle perished in the blizzards and floods that ravaged North Dakota, leaving ranchers and bankers wondering how to weather the losses. Page 9 REGIONAL BANKING citicorp is realigning its consumer group, and credit card chief Roberta Arena will be departing. Page 6 MARKET MONITOR Wells FARGO's poor first-quarter earnings and stock decline illustrate the difficulty of absorbing a huge merger while meeting Wall Street expectations. Page 25 Alex. Brown & Sons--part of the Baltimore landscape since 1800, when Alexander Brown established it to finance his cotton business--seemed like a stalwart of independence. Its pending sale to Bankers Trust New York has been a painful blow to the city's civic pride. Page 25 MORTGAGES Three mortgage insurers reported first-quarter earnings last week. Page 12 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS Wells Fargo snared a veteran of American Express to oversee its proprietary mutual fund businesses. Page 14 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs Most specialized credit card companies posted solid first-quarter earnings despite rising chargeoff rates. Page 16 TECHNOLOGY consumer Credit woes are hurting the stocks of card processors. Page 18 WEEKLY REPORT: SMALL BUSINESS Competition for California's feverish small-business market is about to heat up some more as several of the region's largest lenders pair off. Page 10 Targeting the most profitable small-business customers is a maxim among bankers, but a study says that's only a short-term solution. Page 11
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