SPECIAL REPORT: QUARTERLY M&A REVIEW

The record book was rewritten last year in the consolidation of the nation's banking industry. Commercial banks and thrift institutions agreed to spend an unprecedented $95 billion in merger deals - 109% more than in 1996. Page 3A

Birmingham, Ala., has largely escaped the consolidation wave. But city leaders know their turn - and the attendant job losses - will come. Page 15A

REGIONAL BANKING

As BankAmerica divests its Chicago retail branches Friday, it has become an aggressive bidder for business among large Midwest corporations and midsize companies. Jeremy Fair, a B of A corporate finance executive, says the recent acquisition of investment banking powers in the Robertson Stephens deal will be crucial to this business. Page 4

COMMUNITY BANKING

Community bankers oppose changing the nation's deposit insurance system and are counting on Thomas Hales to spread that message in Washington. Page 5

MORTGAGES

Two of Wall Street's most aggressive mortgage securities firms have quietly cut operations, signaling a reduction in the emphasis on these securities. Page 6

CORPORATE FINANCE

The robust real estate market is showing signs of overheating, says the head of Cushman & Wakefield, one of the nation's largest real estate services firms. Page 7

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

Mellon is launching a joint venture with Frank Russell Co., known for its Russell 2000 stock index, to deliver investment performance analysis to custody and personal trust clients. Page 8

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

Big banks are making their mark in the secured card market, and in the process have driven out at least one long-established company. Page 11

TECHNOLOGY

ON-LINE BANKING: Integrion Financial Network said three more banks will pilot test its home banking and bill payment system, and MSFDC announced Banc One had joined its advisory board. Page 14

Deluxe Corp. has joined with Fair, Isaac and Acxiom to create what they call the industry's first debit bureau. Page 15

MARKET MONITOR

Falling bank stock prices are raising an issue that has not cropped up since 1994, when Shawmut had to recast its offer for Northeast Federal. Back page

WEEKLY REPORT: INTERNATIONAL

BankAmerica will expand its corporate banking activities in Latin America as the Western Hemisphere moves toward a single free trade zone over the next several years, a senior executive says. Page 10

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