WASHINGTON

Lenders are fighting a Clinton administration proposal that would require them to bid for the right to make some government-guaranteed student loans., Page 3

REGIONAL

U.S. Bancorp has sued a Nebraska bank, claiming that a television ad campaign is false and amounts to unfair competition., Page 4

First Union said it would close 80 of its own branches and 76 former CoreStates offices in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey this fall. Page 5

COMMUNITY

To reduce administrative burdenand legal risk,community banks are joining other small businesses in outsourcing their human resources tasks. Page 6

DIGITAL FRONTIERS

SMART CARDS: Air Travel Card, the business travel program sponsored by major airlines, is supporting the SET protocol, relying on technology from Verifone to handle payments over the Internet., Page 13

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

Ripples from the bank merger and acquisition wave are reaching the niche business of providing administrative services to bank-managed mutual funds. Some of the megamergers have put administrators in competition for the consolidated companies' business. Page 10

Bank branch staff members are improving at selling investment products, while dedicated brokers are struggling to return to earlier productivity levels, a survey shows., Page 10

CARDS

A Mellon Bank survey of 600 large companies and government entities found wide satisfaction with purchasing card programs., Page 14

Visa U.S.A. announced a product that blurs the difference between on- line and off-line debit cards. The cards can be used either with PINs or in the conventional way with signatures., Page 15

CORPORATE FINANCE

The global shipping industry is awash in junk. During the first four months of this year, shipping companies issued $1.64 billion of high-yield bonds, 28% more than during all of last year., Page 25

MARKETS

Citicorp is buying Europai Kereskedelmi Bank, a $266 million-asset Hungarian institution. The deal would bolster Citicorp's decade-old stake there and create the country's eighth-largest commercial bank., Back page

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