WASHINGTON

The House will vote tonight on a massive bill to overhaul financial services and let banking, securities, and insurance firms merge. Two amendments would soften proposed restrictions on operating subsidiaries. Page 2

Under pressure from community activists, federal regulators have downgraded Mercantile Bank's CRA rating. The bank was one of the first large institutions examined under new CRA rules. Page 2

MORTGAGES

HOME EQUITY: The Financial Accounting Standards Board is standing firm on keeping a controversial accounting rule that has led to massive writedowns for some home equity lenders. Page 7

The chairman of Dime's mortgage unit says his last experience melding an entrepreneurial mortgage company into a bank was a tough one, but he learned from it. Page 7

DIGITAL FRONTIERS

SMART CARDS: Gemplus of France is powering up its smart cards with data base technology. It is the first time that such common tools will be available in the card environment, said Donna Jeker, vice president of strategic marketing. Page 14

COMMUNITY

Citizens Business Bank of Ontario, Calif., has been ordered to pay $3.7 million in damages to a San Diego development firm that defaulted on a 1992 mortgage on an 88-bed retirement home. Page 6

TECHNOLOGY

NationsBank is making network computing a reality by putting a new operating system from IBM on 25,000 branch workstations. Page 10

Bisys Group named automated teller industry veteran Neil P. Marcous its group president of marketing and information services. Page 11

CORPORATE FINANCE

As states step up their deregulation of America's $200 billion power industry, a few energy-savvy banks are cautiously financing the sector. Page 12

CIBC World Markets hired seven former employees of Union Bank of Switzerland's telecommunications team for its global telecom group. Page 13

MARKETS

Fleet shares, boosted by merger speculation for much of the year, came back to earth as talks with a potential partner were said to have broken off. Back page

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