The FDIC exempted nearly all banks and thrifts from paying deposit insurance premiums for the second half of 1998.,Page 2


Union Bank of California said it is directing 40% of its advertising budget at minority groups.,Page 4


South Umpqua State Bank, Roseburg, Ore., has made an unsolicited bid to buy a hometown rival for about $40 million.,Page 5


HOME EQUITY: Fleet Financial Group is shuttering its last retail mortgage unit in the South, closing the final chapter of a five-year saga. Page 6

Fannie Mae is introducing a conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage that can be bought with a 3% down payment-and not necessarily with the borrower's own funds., Page 7


Credit Suisse Group-which has announced plans to close its private banking business in the United States and Canada-is restructuring the business around the world., Page 9


Executives of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce have undertaken a TV ad campaign to clear up brand-name confusion in its investment banking division.,Page 10


The economics of smart cards continue to suffer because the financial industry has failed to unite on technical standards, a Wells Fargo Bank executive vice president said at the Cardtech/Securtech conference. Page 12

In one of its more overt shows of support for smart cards, Microsoft announced a plan to put a stamp of approval on card readers compatible with its technology., Page 12


SMART CARDS: Tired of bemoaning the lags in smart card acceptance, technology companies are producing equipment that can connect the cards directly into computers and networks., Page 13


To meet customers' needs in on-line and other direct channels, financial institutions were urged to get past their historical tendency to be just transaction-processing factories.,Page 15

Chase has adopted a voice-recognition system for its bearer bond processing department.,Page 15


Jittery investors sent most stocks lower for a second straight day, but some regional bank stocks eked out small gains on opportunistic buying. Back page

Letters,Page 8

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