WASHINGTON

A new study finds that whites and blacks pay almost identical interest rates for home mortgages, although minorities pay substantially more when they refinance.

Responding to industry concerns, the OCC is clarifying what constitutes a fiduciary activity.

The Fed is warning the industry to pay more attention to its private banking operations.

The National Association of Securities Dealers should require all its members to make the same disclosures, bankers said in comment letters.

REGIONAL BANKING

National City, an aggressive acquirer for the past dozen years, now has its sights set on data processing, mortgage, and subprime lending companies.

North Carolina's First Citizens Bancshares ditched the company name for its start-up in an Atlanta suburb.

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

International credit card ads are more genteel and image-oriented than what U.S. consumers see. Meanwhile, in the domestic market, debit cards have become a priority-and a puzzlement to marketers. Part Two of a special report.

COMMUNITY BANKING

The FDIC ordered United Bank and Trust, a $31 million-asset state- chartered bank in New Orleans, to stop making "hazardous" loans and start improving the quality of its portfolio.

MORTGAGES

BankAmerica will package and sell $675 million of home loans in one of the year's biggest mortgage securitizations.

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

INSURANCE: Illinois last week became the third state since the beginning of June to let state-chartered banks sell insurance.

Norwest, facing costs of several million dollars to prepare its systems for 2000, opted to outsource its trust accounting to SEI.

TECHNOLOGY

The investments that banks and other businesses have made in intranet technology are starting to pay dividends, according to a study.

MARKET MONITOR

Fleet Financial Group's shares were downgraded on concerns that without the benefit of merger-related cost cutting the company's earnings growth rate would lag behind other banks'.

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