A Federal Reserve Board proposal would expand the banking industry's product arsenal by allowing the indirect underwriting of life insurance and annuities. Page 4


Benefiting from a year of aggressive acquisition activity, NationsBank said it earned $818 million in the fourth quarter, up 29% from a year earlier. Meanwhile, SouthTrust of Birmingham, Ala., and First Empire State of Buffalo also reported solid quarters. Page 5

BankBoston will close its branches in Paris and Frankfurt this year and centralize its Western Europe management in London. Page 6


INSURANCE: Nationwide Mutual Insurance's announcement that it would start selling property/casualty insurance through banks comes as banks are starting to drop their resistance to auto and homeowners insurance. Page 8


As the leveraged loan market matures, investors are trading spreads for increased liquidity, two industry observer write. Page 10


Investors in mortgage-backed securities are getting edgy amid speculation that prepayments could match those of 1993's refinancing boom. Page 11

Citicorp is said to be considering the purchase of GE Capital's massive mortgage unit, a deal that would vault the bank into the upper echelon of the mortgage business. Page 11


Bank credit card profitability suffered in 1997, registering its worst performance in 15 years, according to an annual data compilation by R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers. Page 12

Electronic Payment Services appointed an executive with a track record of boosting customer satisfaction to supervise client relations for both the MAC network and Buypass, its point of sale affiliate. Page 12


The Open Group, a big, ambitious consortium trying to bring order to technology standards, adopted a specification that it says will enhance security and reliability of electronic commerce. Page 14

Digital Signature Trust, the electronic authentication subsidiary of Zions First National Bank of Utah, has begun filling out its product line through two alliances. Page 15


Another downgrade for Citicorp and diminished enthusiasm for other money-centers kept banks from joining a market rebound. Back page

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