WASHINGTON

Before allowing two California thrifts to merge, the OTS imposed tough conditions designed to improve the combined institution's compliance with Community Reinvestment and Home Mortgage Disclosure act rules. Page 2

REGIONAL

Continuing to reap the benefits of its Alex. Brown acquisition, Bankers Trust New York's first-quarter net income jumped 11%, to $222 million. Page 4

After a three-year hiatus from acquisitions, Synovus of Columbus, Ga., has improved its profit mix and is going on a bank-buying binge. Page 5

MORTGAGES

Readjusted accounting standards have been taking a toll on two of the largest specialty finance company earnings. Page 8

Employees of Beneficial worried about its impending sale may take comfort from appointments made by the buyer, Household International. Page 9

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

In 1997, for the fourth year in a row, Essex Corp. was the largest marketer of mutual funds and annuities through banks, a consulting firm said. Page 18

CORPORATE FINANCE

CIBC Oppenheimer, the U.S. securities arm of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, plans to forge ahead with hiring and expansion even as its parent prepares to merge with Toronto-Dominion Bank. Page 19

CARDS

Wading deeper into Internet waters, First USA announced marketing relationships with two more Web-based companies. Page 20

TECHNOLOGY

The New York Clearing House Association dropped the last shoe in its "privatization," announcing the formation of a national clearing house for low-dollar payments. Its chairman-designate, Joseph G. Sponholz of Chase Manhattan, says he sees an opportunity to "strengthen the private sector's position as the premier provider of low-dollar payment services." Page 22

Deep within Wachovia Corp., Bruce Brett has found an unusual opportunity to run a start-up business, heading a line of payment services for its operational services unit. Page 23

MARKETS

Bank stocks slipped back as investors took profits and considered the dizzying array of merger proposals that are now before them. Back page

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