The Fed is expected to abolish today nearly two dozen firewalls that make it hard for bank-affiliated section 20 units to compete against securities firms. Page 2


Omaha-based Commercial Federal, a thrift company, says it is buying Liberty Financial of West Des Moines mostly for its commercial lending portfolio. Page 3


William Censky, laid off by Firstar nearly two years ago, has managed to keep busy. Last year he started a mortgage company; now he has opened a bank focusing on the main business in his Wisconsin hometown, dairy farming - even though he doesn't know much about it. Page 5


Washington Mutual and California Federal now seem the leading contenders to buy Aames Financial, the Los Angeles subprime lender. Talk of a sale began to surface shortly after investment banker Cary Thompson joined Aames as CEO, but then the front-runner was thought to be NationsBank. Page 6


Amid concern that the run-up in blue chips is cresting, bank brokerage customers are beginning to international and small-cap funds. Page 7


PRIVATE PLACEMENT issues rose by about 60% in the first half, putting 1997 on track to smash last year's record of $203 billion. Page 8

Boston-based CypressTree Investment Management brought a $575 million collateralized loan and bond obligation to market. Such funds bought nearly 20% of the highly leveraged loans sold in the first half. Page 8


ON-LINE BANKING: Putting his financial life on the line, a reporter signs up for electronic bill payment. His conclusion: The glitches, if not corrected, could hinder more widespread consumer acceptance. Page 10


Michael Price's mutual fund shop at Franklin Resources has launched a portfolio specializing in securities of financial services companies. Page 20


Sanwa California has joined the gold rush among banks in the state to boost international operations. To lead the effort it hired the international banking chief of Tokyo-Mitsubishi's California bank. Page 4

Trading in emerging-market debt fell slightly during the second quarter as worries eased that the U.S. would raise rates. Page 4

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