Taking advantage of recent volatility in interest and exchange rates, banks boosted revenue from derivatives trading 26% in the third quarter, to a record $2.5 billion, the OCC said. Page 4


Demand for senior and mid-level financial service executives jumped 18% in the first nine months of the year, according to the Association of Executive Search Consultants. Page 5


Atlanta's Premier Bancshares capped off a year of acquisitions with a holiday shopping spree. Page 8


FirstPlus said it is nearly eliminating gain-on-sale accounting, a move that could force the entire home equity lending industry to rethink the way that it books profits. Page 10


Alltel Information Services has such a large servicing portfolio - about one-third the value of outstanding U.S. mortgages - that the business is its to lose. But the company's commanding stature is even more surprising because its president, James Milligan, was trained as neither a mortgage banker nor a technologist. Page 11

Mortgage lenders are turning to automated underwriting technology to reduce loan approval time from three or four weeks to just three or four minutes. But lenders face a daunting choice of systems. Page 11


INSURANCE: As bank after bank pushes into the insurance business, it is easy to lose sight of a countertrend. Some banks are deemphasizing insurance operations or dropping out of the game altogether. Page 12


GTE is embarking on a reorganization that it says will sharpen its focus on the financial services industry and its role in electronic commerce. Page 15


Wachovia Corp. is the latest bank in 1997 to take what accountants call a "big bath." Back page

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