WASHINGTON

Conflicting federal appeals court decisions rekindled the controversy over the government's power to void oral contracts made by banks and thrifts before failure. Page 2

REGIONAL BANKING

Washington Mutual tapped a veteran Great Western executive and another from its own ranks to supervise its 450 retail branches in California. Page 4

COMMUNITY BANKING

Iowa bankers are buying up a record number of tax-free state revenue bonds to finance low-interest loans for beginning farmers. Page 6

A former mutual S&L in Pennsylvania is buying a leasing firm to compete in commercial banking. Page 6

MORTGAGES

Chase has begun to offer lender-paid mortgage insurance to correspondents. The policies wind up saving borrowers money, but they're a tough sell because they also raise mortgage rates. Page 9

CORPORATE FINANCE

Tired of losing investment opportunities to independent firms, BankBoston and Chase are teaming up with industry specialists to get a piece of the private equity business. "You have to give it resources," says Jeffrey Walker at Chase Capital Partners. "Put (in) enough people power, not just time and money." Page 3

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

Plans by the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies to charter its own thrift drew fire from bankers. Supporters said it would help insurers compete with banks that are entering their business. Page 11

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

CARD FRONTIERS: Sun Microsystems is buying Integrity Arts, a software company controlled by the smart card manufacturer Gemplus Group. Page 7

RSA Data Security said it has begun shipping JSafe, its tool kit for helping software developers write secure programs in Sun's Java language. Page 7

TECHNOLOGY

NCR said it will include software developed by Sun Microsystems in the next generation of computers it builds, making it easier for banks to use NCR's big data warehouses. Page 14

IBM unveiled details of an operating system, WorkSpace On-Demand, that reaffirms its commitment to the OS/2 specification. Page 14

MARKET MONITOR

Aames Financial's earnings report was almost a month late-and contained jarring news instead of the acquisition announcement that analysts had hoped for. Back page

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