WASHINGTON

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott plans to move legislation by July 20 that would ease credit union membership limits, industry leaders said. Page 2

REGIONAL

First Union's effort to direct noncustomer check cashers out of its Florida branches has sparked a suit alleging violations of state and federal banking laws. Page 4

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

John Nuveen is preparing to add banks to the roster of distribution channels for its new European stock fund. Page 7

DIGITAL FRONTIERS

SMART CARDS: Bull, the French company with one of the longest histories in smart card manufacturing, is moving full force into the market for portable card-reading devices. Page 8

First Union announced an agreement with Villanova University to link campus smart cards to checking accounts. Page 8

COMMUNITY

Small banks should invest in technology or risk losing customers to larger competitors, 100 community bankers at a conference were told. "Banks that say their customers don't need these sophisticated delivery channels are probably the banks that are losing customers," said Diane Casey of Grant Thornton. Page 6

Thrifts and banks owned by women or members of minority groups generally outpaced the industry in earnings growth last year, according to a new report, but profits fell at black-owned institutions. Page 6

MORTGAGES

HOME EQUITY: Three megadeals in the consumer finance industry closed Tuesday without a hitch, despite controversy over the premiums paid by acquirers, prepayment problems industrywide, and possible cultural clashes in at least one case. Page 5

TECHNOLOGY

Brightware has upgraded its software, designed to help banks come to grips with the thousands of customer service requests their Internet banking sites receive daily. Page 11

CORPORATE FINANCE

Piper Jaffray has named Paul P. Karos director of equity capital markets. He will join the firm's management committee and lead its equity capital markets operating committee. Page 21

MARKETS

Midwestern bank stocks failed to ignite in spite of reports that Star Banc Corp. was in talks to acquire Firstar Bancorp. Page 22

Hibernia, Louisiana's second-largest bank, has agreed to buy Martexbancshares, Marshall, Tex., for about $69.6 million. Back page

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