The rumor mill at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. keeps churning out reports that Chairman Ricki Helfer is quitting.

Ms. Helfer snubbed the first round of rumors last spring by asking John F. Bovenzi, director of FDIC depositor and asset services, to send an E- mail message to the staff.

When the scuttlebutt resurfaced last month, Ms. Helfer took care of it herself. On Sept. 25, she told a group of regional managers in the agency's supervision division that reports of her exit had been greatly exaggerated.

"The rumors are totally untrue," said FDIC spokesman Robert M. Garsson. "Ms. Helfer has absolutely no intention of leaving her job."

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One of the lead lawyers in the goodwill cases has left Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge to create a specialty boutique focusing on suits against federal regulators. Charles J. Cooper formed Cooper & Carvin on Oct. 1 with Michael A. Carvind his former colleague at the Justice Department and at Shaw Pittman.

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When Citicorp chairman and chief executive John Reed spoke to the Wallenberg Bankers Forum last Monday at Georgetown University, he addressed a special guest in the audience: his daughter, Tenley, a senior at the school.

"She's an English major. I told her she would learn nothing from this talk."

Later that night, Mr. Reed threw a huge party at the National Museum of Women in the Arts for hundreds of bankers in town for the World Bank/IMF meetings.

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The banking industry got a pat on the back from Attorney General Janet Reno on Thursday.

In a meeting with its representatives and other lenders, Ms. Reno applauded the work the banking industry has done in the fair-lending area. She said she "doesn't want lenders to change underwriting standards to make more loans, but just that they treat people fairly," one industry attendee said.

"We're interested in how fair lending can best be achieved, while at the same time letting banks do good business," added a Justice Department official.

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