WASHINGTON

Banks and thrifts overwhelmingly concentrate their small-business lending in central cities and suburban areas, according the first data compiled under the revised CRA. Page 2

After months of delay, six nominees to financial regulatory posts appear to be on a fast track to Senate confirmation. At a Banking Committee hearing, Republicans and Democrats alike endorsed the nominees, which included Ellen S. Seidman to head the OTS, Edward M. Gramlich and Roger W. Ferguson to the Fed, and Dennis Dollar to the NCUA board. Page 2

REGIONAL BANKING

Ralph Nader has taken another poke at First Union, saying the pending Signet acquisition seems likely to reduce service to Signet customers and make them pay more. Page 5

COMMUNITY BANKING

Banco Popular of Puerto Rico is making its Texas debut by buying one of the state's best-run community banks, Citizens National of Houston. Page 6

Capital Bancorp, a problem-plagued Miami company, will be kicked off the Nasdaq trading system, effective next Monday. Page 6

MORTGAGES

HOME EQUITY: The earnings shocks that rattled Aames and Cityscape could spread throughout the home equity and subprime mortgage sector, Standard & Poor's warns. Page 8

One of the biggest bulls in the subprime mortgage lending corral is recommending that investors stay out - at least for now. Page 8

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

American General's decision last month to buy an insurance company specializing in bank sales of fixed annuities could help it crack the bank distribution channel. Page 10

In a first, Deutsche Bank will use the performance of funds it manages abroad to promote similar funds it is launching today in the United States. Page 11

TECHNOLOGY

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Mellon is standardizing software development to speed it up while keeping it close to the user. It hired a former Citi tech guru and signed for help from EDS. Page 13

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

Hypercom pulled more of the wraps off its recently accelerated smart card and electronic commerce strategies. Page 14

MARKET MONITOR

Alligator and antelope on the menu, Willie Nelson on the program - Montgomery Securities went all out for its final annual investors conference as an independent investment bank. Back page

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