A rule meant to protect data from banks' tests of their own fair-lending compliance would be a disaster, banking lawyers say. "It is hard to imagine a more disappointing result," says one. The rule is scheduled to take effect Jan. 31. Page 2

The government updated the rules governing trust activities of federally chartered thrifts. It also codified an OTS interpretation that the institutions may offer any fiduciary service authorized for other providers in the same state. Page 2


Though awash in capital, many community banks are not willing to dole out bigger dividends to shareholders. Page 5


The nation's big billers stand to save millions of dollars through on- line bill processes, but of equal interest are the cross-selling and marketing benefits. And these could be lost to so-called third-party concentrators, write Richard Crone and Joseph Hudson. Page 10

Call centers are not paying off as expected, according to a study for the ABA. Nearly three-quarters of banks surveyed thought the facilities would increase market penetration in 1997, but fewer than half said they had done so. To help the investment pan out, banks plan to spend moreon training. Page 11


THE NEW LEADER of the Mortgage Bankers Association says he brings a team concept to the job: He wants members to celebrate success together and, if necessary, mourn together. Page 6


Chase has opened an investment center in New York specially tailored to Asian-American customers. Page 7

NationsBank plans to launch funds modeled on two highly regarded Janus portfolios-and the manager who ran them for 10 years will help. Page 7


The biggest real estate investment trust, Simon DeBartolo Group, and Macerich Co. joined forces to buy nearly $1 billion of shopping malls. Page 8

Wells is leading a $250 million credit for a Denver-based REIT specializing in health-care facilities. Page 8


Platinum credit cards boomed in 1997, fueled by high volumes of mail offers and easy qualifying criteria, a market researcher has concluded. Page 9


Zions of Utah will pay about three times book for a California bank with $359 million of assets. Page 18

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