WASHINGTON

SBA chief Aida Alvarez pledged to impose stricter internal financial controls after a budget blunder. Page 2

REGIONAL BANKING

Hibernia is buying another Louisiana bank for 2.7 times book. ArgentBank would expand Hibernia's coverage of coastal and southeast Louisiana. Page 7

COMMUNITY BANKING

MSB Bancorp in upstate New York unveiled a cost-cutting plan. Page 9

MORTGAGES

Several recent court decisions may help stem a flood of class actions that has threatened mortgage lenders for the past two years. Page 10

Neither the sea nor politics could long keep John M. Robbins Jr. out of the mortgage business. He's back with a real estate investment trust and is planning an initial public offering. Page 10

ANALYST ROUNDTABLE

"How long can the rally last?" The question dominated American Banker's latest quarterly roundtable of bank analysts. The panelists were generally optimistic, but Yun Jae Chung of Bessemer Trust said stock prices, particularly for regional banks, look high. Page 14

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

The Fed rejected the banking industry's request for interest-bearing business checking accounts similar to those offered by securities firms. Page 11

Crabbe Huson Group, which direct-markets its contrarian mutual funds, has decided to sell through banks too. Page 11

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

Verisign says the numbers are adding up in favor of digital authentication for Internet commerce, and especially its Digital ID product. Page 12

TECHNOLOGY

The browser wars are back, and the differing strategies of the combatants have implications for companies offering home banking through personal financial management software. Page 18

Just three months after buying Verifone, Hewlett-Packard has announced another electronic commerce initiative-this time with AT&T. Page 18

MARKET MONITOR

Credit card specialists reported mixed results for the second quarter, with the continued profitability of MBNA setting a standard for the industry. Back page

WEEKLY REPORT: INTERNATIONAL

Two decades after they gave up trying to become a major force in local corporate finance, U.S. banks in Germany have settled for better-focused activities. Page 16

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