WASHINGTON

The crackdown by the Justice Department on consumer bankruptcy fraud is producing results. Page 2

REGIONAL

In an attempt to ensure that their combination is done smoothly, First Chicago NBD and Banc One have appointed two executives to head a merger implementation team. Page 4

The days of independence are numbered for many southeastern regional banks, according to a Florida finance professor. Page 4

CORPORATE FINANCE

As a torrent of money pours into the private equity market, some institutional investors are wondering whether it is time to tighten their purse strings, an analyst says. Page 7

DIGITAL FRONTIERS

SMART CARDS: A sense that progress was not being made dampened the mood at the Cardtech/Securtech conference in Washington. Page 14

Special Report

The mortgage industry is headed for a record year, but there are questions about how it will weather the inevitable downturn. Meanwhile, M&A continues to reshape membership of the $100 billion servicing club. And strong demand for mortgage paper from investors provides strong support to the primary market. Pullout section

COMMUNITY

A federal agency has launched a program designed to help farmers protect themselves against falling commodities prices, and it may benefit farm lenders, too. Page 8

Second Bancorp., Warren, Ohio, has agreed to buy Trumbell Financial, a neighboring thrift, in a stock-swap deal worth $122.4 million. Page 8

MORTGAGES

Despite the recent ebbing of the refinancing boom, the mood is expected to be upbeat in Chicago this week as some 1,800 mortgage executives gather for one of the industry's biggest conventions of the year. Page 10

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

State Street Global Advisors said four mutual funds it launched this week should pull in $48 million of fresh assets by Friday. Page 16

TECHNOLOGY

An international consortium of banks has taken a giant step toward completing a system for mitigating risks in foreign exchange settlements. Page 17

MARKETS

Continuing a war of words, Bank of New York pressed Mellon Bank to reconsider its unsolicited merger proposal or present a "credible alternative strategy." Page 26

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