FALLING SHARE PRICES have raised doubts that the real estate investment trust market will grow as fast this year as last. Page 8

WASHINGTON

Regulators say they may block mergers by banks with year-2000 computer problems. Page 2

REGIONAL BANKING

John Beirise, a top Mercantile Bancorp. executive left out in a management reorganization, will leave the St. Louis company at the end of February. Page 4

Wells Fargo has become embroiled in a dispute between striking workers and an Oregon steel company. Page 5

COMMUNITY BANKING

A consumer group is pushing legislation in Minnesota to cap bank fees. Page 6

MORTGAGES

HomeSide is entering the subprime market with the help of General Motors' Residential Funding Corp. Page 9

CREDIT/DEBIT/ATMs

First Data hired the architect of First Interstate's electronic banking strategy to lead a business unit that helps small banks get on-line. Page 10

CORPORATE FINANCE

Credit Suisse First Boston's chief financial officer discusses the outlook for acquisitions, the Asian crisis, the proposed merger with Union Bank of Switzerland, and trends in worldwide consolidation. Page 12

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

INSURANCE: Huntington Bancshares reached into the corporate insurance market with its recent deal for a Cleveland brokerage. Page 13

TECHNOLOGY

MSFDC has launched the Systems Integrator Program, enrolling consultants and other third-party companies to help install its electronic bill presentment and payment system. Page 19

MARKET MONITOR

Executives at regional banking companies considered takeover candidates are learning that the way to get the most money for shareholders is to bring in investment bankers and lawyers and hold an auction. Page 26

Bank stocks caught the updraft of a global market rally; shares of regionals as well as money-centers climbed. Back page

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