Executives at Cleveland-based Charter One are finding their dreams of building one of the nation's largest thrifts colliding with the reality of nightmarishly high merger prices. "If an opportunity comes along, we'll take a look," chiarman and CEO Charles John Koch says, "but prices being what they are, we'd probably rather not make a deal." Page 22


ReliaStar, a Minneapolis insurer, won permission from the OTS to acquire Citizens Community Bancshares, St. Cloud, Minn. Page 2


Leading off fourth-quarter earnings reports from the nation's largest bank holding companies, Atlanta-based SunTrust said profits jumped 8.6%. The results, which fell in line with expectations, should serve as a bellwether for reports from other big banks. Page 4

Compass Bancshares of Birmingham, Ala., has emerged as the leading candidate to buy the deposits and most of the assets of Pacific Southwest Bank in Corpus Christi, Tex. Page 4


Banks without parent companies are nearly a thing of the past. The holdouts are the nation's smallest banks, but some of them are finding good reason to form holding companies. Page 6


The head of First Security's newly minted section 20 unit is no stranger to the securities business: He has been working in the Salt Lake City bank's capital markets division for the past 30 years. Page 7


"Refinancing" could become a dirty word to companies with large servicing portfolios. Page 8

The one-two punch of increased competition and falling interest rates has subprime lenders scrambling to retain loans in their portfolios, often by imposing prepayment penalties. Page 8


More than half the banks providing custody services to the mutual fund industry are still grappling with the year-2000 problem in their computer systems. Page 10


To boost the popularity of its affinity credit card program, the National Rifle Association is planning to change issuers. Page 12


Banks outpace other financial companies in offering transactional services via the Internet, according to a report from Meridien Research. Page 14


Banks agreed in principle to give their support to a proposed multibillion dollar debt restructuring package for South Korea, banking sources said. Back page

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