M&A REVIEW

Thrifts, once scorned, are now a hot commodity. A big reason is scarcity; the major survivors, typically the well-managed result of previous mergers, are among the few vehicles left for serious entry into desirable markets. The trend is explored in today's monthly review of M&A activity. Page 26

WASHINGTON

The banking industry may have trouble proving that the National Credit Union Administration broke the law when it gave Point Mugu Federal Credit Union permission to serve all of California's Ventura County. Page 4

REGIONAL BANKING

Consolidation in the financial services industry has relegated some brand names to the dustbin. A consultant recommends four criteria to decide which brand to use after a merger. Page 6

COMMUNITY BANKING

A small Northern California bank, Six Rivers National of Eureka, doubled its size last week by buying four Bank of America branches. Page 8

MORTGAGES

HOME EQUITY: Beleaguered home equity lender Preferred Credit of irvine, Calif., has reportedly found a buyer. Page 10

IMC Mortgage of Tampa raised $228 million by selling investors securities backed by the expected profits on securitizations. Page 10

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

The brokerage services group at Washington Mutual is undergoing a makeover as the Seattle-based thrift combines its businesses with those of two recent acquisitions. Page 13

CORPORATE FINANCE

Securities dealers are losing their grip on short-term investment management for corporations, a study shows. Page 14

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

CARD FRONTIERS: NBS Technologies and Bull Group are collaborating to develop smart card terminals and market them in the United States and Canada. Page 16

TECHNOLOGY

Iang Jeon, adding to his reputation as one of the most sought-after "free agents" in on-line financial services, has jumped again - this time from Liberty Financial to Scudder Funds Marketing. Page 18

Comerica, a pioneer in check imaging, has launched a service that gives corporate customers on-line access to images of checks posted to their accounts. Page 18

MARKET MONITOR

Look for "supercommunity" banks, ambitious versions of traditional community banks, to perform well in coming months, a veteran analyst says. Page 32

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