WASHINGTON

The FDIC is not gathering enough information from banks to determine their readiness for year-2000 computer issues, a GAO report says. Page 2

Adopting needs-based consumer bankruptcy would save creditors nearly $30 billion over the next three years, according to a study. Page 2

COMMUNITY

Small banks have only recently begun taking advantage of a financing tool that their bigger brethren have been wielding: real estate investment trusts. Page 7

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

J.P. Morgan is expanding its retirement plan business in the United Kingdom with a new family of life-cycle mutual funds. Page 8

MORTGAGES

HOME EQUITY: Associates First Capital agreed to purchase the Canadian consumer finance arm of Beneficial, a move that will make it the largest foreign-owned consumer finance company there. Page 11

REGIONAL

Star Banc of Cincinnati closed a $641 million acquisition of a Kentucky thrift last week, and its chief executive officer is ready to do another. It could happen "if we find a deal that fits in our strategy and meets our criteria," Jerry A. Grundhofer says. Page 5

Chief executives at financial services companies are adding the title "human resources manager" to their portfolio of duties with increasing frequency, according to a report by Andersen Consulting. Page 6

DIGITAL FRONTIERS

SMART CARDS: A low-key announcement two weeks ago by Mondex USA and Burger King may have begun to awaken bankers to a killer app for smart cards: fast-food restaurants. Page 15

CARDS

In a free market economy, consumers ultimately decide which goods and services succeed and which fail. This same time-tested approach will work for ATM surcharges, the head of a vendor company writes. Page 17

TECHNOLOGY

Harris Bankcorp of Chicago has decided to outsource its automated clearing house processing, a move observers are calling a first for a bank its size. Page 18

MARKETS

BankAtlantic said it had agreed to buy Ryan Beck, catapulting the Florida thrift company into the lucrative businesses of underwriting, market making, and merger advisory work. Page 26

The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index hit record highs, but they did so without much help from bank stocks. Back page

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