WaMu's buildup couldn't have come at a better time: The bank is expected to have the No. 1 share of the loan origination market in Southern California, where the housing market is making a comeback. Page 21

WASHINGTON

The INDEPENDENT Insurance Agents of America is expected to join the flood of nonbanks seeking thrift charters. Page 2

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

Bank insurance programs continue to be plagued by bankers' hesitancy to refer their customers to a bank's insurance agents, symposium attendees said. Page 7

COMMUNITY

California community bankers are buzzing with excitement over Washington Mutual's proposed purchase of H.F. Ahmanson. Page 10

CORPORATE FINANCE

Mellon Bank is using the Internet to sell its services to middle-market corporations. Page 11

CARDS

First USA hopes to strike a melodious chord with a cobranded credit card for classical music lovers. Page 15

TECHNOLOGY

Cybercash's bid to buy ICVerify would give it a commanding presence at the payment processing end of the nascent e-commerce market, observers said. Page 16

MARKET MONITOR

The chief economist at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell warned of a 60% chance of a severe global recession arising from information technology snafus. Page 29

Banks' year-2000 costs keep rising as efforts are stepped up to adapt computer systems to meet the challenge, but Wall Street analysts seem unfazed. Back page

WEEKLY REPORT: SMALL BUSINESS

Merrill Lynch is promoting a small-business debit card that offers discounts for hotels, airlines, and franchise restaurants. Page 12

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