DOUGLAS ANDERSON, chairman of Card Alert Services, which sniffs out ATM fraud, likens it to "a community fire department" that becomes more effective the more smoke detectors (client-bank ATMs) it has out there. Page 12


Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin lauded the banking industry Thursday for dramatically boosting investment in economically distressed neighborhoods. Page 2


First Midwest Bancorp said it had agreed to buy another Chicago-area company, Heritage Financial Services, for $411 million in stock, or about 3.3 times book value. Page 6


Interwest Bancorp of Washington State has added a twist to its 1997 annual report: a postcard scene that, it hopes, may prompt investors to take a second look at the company. Page 7


J.P. Morgan, Societe Generale, and Citibank are putting together $2.9 billion of financing to help Marriott International spin off its lodging operations. Page 8


Wells Fargo Bank has joined a small group of investment managers that are trying to make mutual fund prospectuses easy to read. Page 9


Mellon Mortgage is converting its servicing portfolio to Alltel Information's mortgage servicing system - a move analysts say implies more big servicing acquisitions in the offing. Page 10

New-home sales are stronger than since the late 1970s, but optimism among home builders at the industry's annual convention is likely to be tempered by wariness over low margins. Page 11


A start-up called Whitelight Systems unveiled software that can help financial institutions better understand credit risk, customer profitability, and returns on capital. Page 15


MBNA and Capital One, the credit card industry's remaining monoline companies, both reported strong fourth-quarter earnings gains, driven by heavy flocks of new customers. Page 22

Shares of Mellon slipped a notch amid anticipation that a successor to chief executive Frank V. Cahouet is about to be named. Back page

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