WASHINGTON

The Commerce Department will eliminate licensing requirements for financial firms seeking to use sophisticated encryption technology abroad. Page 3

REGIONAL

The wildfires in Florida have ignited a competition for good will between NationsBank and First Union. Page 4

MORTGAGES

HOME EQUITY: Low interest rates have taken a toll on lenders-most recently causing one to revise its earnings projection and another to take a half-billion-dollar charge. Page 6

COMMUNITY

Lutheran Brotherhood, a Minneapolis-based insurance and financial services company, plans to buy a small nearby thrift. Page 9

CARDS

Many consumers find debit cards more confusing than convenient, a BAIGlobal study said. Page 17

CORPORATE FINANCE

Junk bond issuance hit a record $53.8 billion in the second quarter, buoyed by strong demand for capital and investors' quest for yield, according to Securities Data. With issues at nearly double the $28.6 billion logged in last year's second quarter, the junk market is well on its way to another record year. Page 25

INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

kEYSTONE FINANCIAL of Pennsylvania is playing an aggressive game of catch-up in the investment products business. Page 11

Bisys Group hired a senior executive to coordinate its strategy for investment services. Page 11

TECHNOLOGY

Fair Isaac and Net Earnings have jointly developed an Internet service that lets small businesses check the creditworthiness of trading partners. Page 14

State Street Global Advisors said it has selected SunGard Asset Management Systems' multicurrency trust accounting system to support its global ambitions in trust and investment management. Page 15

DIGITAL FRONTIERS

SMART CARDS: Visa wants to test some of the limits of smart card technology in an 18-month pilot announced this week with MBNA. Page 16

MARKETS

Investors were scratching their heads over Chase Manhattan after the stock received hot and cold reviews on successive days. Back page

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