Texas is trying to block an end run by NationsBank around the state's continuing ban on branching by out-of-state banks. Page 2

Banks have a strong advocate in their fight to limit credit union membership. Christopher Lipsett is the brains behind the ABA lawsuit. Page 3


Norwest of Minneapolis is searching outside its own ranks for two executive vice presidents. Page 4

A senior executive at Bankers Trust has left amid a restructuring of its asset management group. Page 5


HomeSide will start the new year in a new business-securitizing mortgage loans. It plans to pool $350 million in January and launch a big issue or two in every quarter. Page 7


Investors are pouring money into construction lending, but banks are still gun-shy, remembering the debacle of the early 1990s. Page 10


in 1994, when Benjamin Hong took over, Nara Bank was drowning in deficits. Today the small institution, which caters to the Korean community in California, is among the state's most profitable community banks, returning 22% on equity and over 2% on assets. Page 6


INSURANCE: Centura Bancorp says it will soon be one of the biggest companies in the insurance business in North Carolina. In recent weeks it has bought one agency and announced a deal for another. Page 8

An ambitious West Virginia community bank has purchased its own insurance agency. Page 9


Visa International, hoping to make its brand name as ubiquitous in cyberspace as on terra firma, has begun teaming up with Internet companies. Page 11

Ending a turbulent year on a high note, First Data clinched a long-term contract to do card processing for Wells Fargo. Page 11


The Online Banking Association set up a special committee on electronic bill presentment and payment, and 18 of its member banks have joined. Page 15


regions financial said it had reached a definitive agreement to pay $162 million for First State Corp. of Albany, Ga. Page 22

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