WASHINGTON

Bankers at a congressional hearing denied they will exploit the government mandate for electronic payments by gouging the poor and elderly with high fees. Page 2

COMMUNITY BANKING

The homey touch is seen allowing community banks to compete against deeper-pocketed national and regional rivals in a tech-laden future. Page 4

Investors pushing for changes at a Michigan thrift say they've found an ally in a new board candidate at Bank West Financial. Page 4

REGIONAL BANKING

Wachovia's plans for integrating two pending Virginia acquisitions started shaping up when it announced 837 layoffs - and some offsetting job creation. Page 6

With its upcoming purchase of a Connecticut savings bank, North Fork Bancorp hopes to establish a national deposit-gathering model. Page 6

CORPORATE FINANCE

LaSalle National Bank is suing one of its borrowers, charging it with "grossly misrepresenting" its financial condition to get a $115 million loan. Page 8

SunTrust will ask the Federal Reserve within 30 days to 60 days for permission to underwrite corporate debt and equity, according to a senior executive. Page 8

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

Bessemer Trust and Mellon have beefed up their private banking operations in the booming West Coast market. Page 9

European banks are far more likely than U.S. banks to buy a securities house or asset management firm in this country, a Goldman Sachs executive said. Page 9

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

Ironies abounded at the ABA's bank card conference. Credit card profitability, a big contributor to the banking industry's record earnings in recent years, is dropping like a stone. But only a few speakers cared to mention it. Page 10

The American Bankers Association put more merchant-processing topics into its bank card conference program this year, but not soon enough to stem the growth of a more specialized trade group for merchant servicers. Page 11

TECHNOLOGY

Industry alliances and cooperation among competitors took center stage at the National Electronic Check Presentment Conference. Page 12

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MARKET MONITOR

Shares of Money Store, United Companies, and Contifinancial have recovered, after a free fall in the subprime sector earlier this year, to prices about 80% of their all-time highs. Page 22

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