REGIONAL BANKING fee income contributed to generally strong profit hikes at Northeast banks and thrifts including Summit in New Jersey, Dime and GreenPoint in New York. Page 4 Southern National is looking to buy an investment banking firm. Page 4 COMMUNITY BANKING WITH ACQUISITION targets scarce in its home state, National of Alaska has been investing excess capital in buyout firms. Page 6 THE VOTING is over at a Virginia thrift being pushed to sell, but the investor leading the push says the shareholder ballot is too close to call. Page 6 MORTGAGES The market for companies that originate subprime mortgages is heating up. Page 8 INVESTMENT PRODUCTS A SURGE in insurance demand is coming, and banks should get ready, said top banking executives at the Bank Securities Association conference in Tucson. Page 11 WASHINGTON BANKS will resist weakening OCC power to overrule state insurance laws, says Edward L. Yingling, the ABA's chief lobbyist. The Treasury is expected to back the idea of a referee panel to decide which regulator should regulate what, but Treasury officials have not decided whether to overrule the OCC on insurance. Page 3 Two House Democrats introduced a bill that would require the Federal Reserve Board to separately price each service it offers banks. The IBAA came out in opposition, saying only the nation's biggest banks would benefit. Page 2 A Fed study found that the optimal size for a bank is around $25 billion of assets. Page 3 CORPORATE FINANCE In a sign that real estate lending has emerged from the ashes of the 1980s, lenders lined up recently for a bite of the Big Apple's biggest construction loan in nearly a decade. Page 7 TECHNOLOGY A Citicorp technology mastermind will retire at the end of June. Page 12 SunTrust Banks is testing a system that lets bank employees serve walk-up customers from a remote location instead of through a teller window. Page 12 CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs PMT Services bought a bank portfolio in a deal meant to bolster internal growth. Page 15 MARKET MONITOR First USA said its earnings would fall short of expectations as it aligns accounting policies with those of its prospective parent, Banc One. Page 22
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