The following are all 11 articles in USA Today that may have mentioned the Financial Services Act during the year 1999, up through the day after it was passed. Note that several of the articles are not actually related to the Act, or barely mention it in passing; however, they were included in order to keep the completeness of the search. Below this list appears the full text of each article.

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All Sources : News : By Individual Publication : U : USA Today


financial services w/5 (act or law or bill) and date aft 1998 and date bef 11/7/99 (Edit Search)


USA TODAY, November 5, 1999, Friday, FINAL EDITION, NEWS;, Pg. 4A, 553 words, Bush fails

Boston reporter's surprise quiz in interview, Paul Leavitt; William M. Welch; Judy Keen ; With staff and

wire reports


USA TODAY, November 5, 1999, Friday, FINAL EDITION, MONEY;, Pg. 12B, 1367 words, Congress

OKs bill deregulating financial services industry, Christine Dugas


USA TODAY, October 28, 1999, Thursday, FINAL EDITION, NEWS;, Pg. 18A, 492 words, Banking bill

protects consumers, Hjalma E. Johnson


USA TODAY, October 27, 1999, Wednesday, FINAL EDITION, MONEY;, Pg. 1B, 479 words, BOND

YIELD RISES, Compiled from staff and wire reports


USA TODAY, October 25, 1999, Monday, FINAL EDITION, MONEY;, Pg. 2B, 407 words, Bank reform

bill moves close to vote in Congress, Christine Dugas


USA TODAY, October 13, 1999, Wednesday, FINAL EDITION, MONEY;, Pg. 1B, 1191 words, Russia

rattles Swiss banks New laws lift shroud of secrecy amid money-laundering scrutiny, Tom Lowry,



USA TODAY, September 27, 1999, Monday, FINAL EDITION, LIFE;, Pg. 19A, 854 words, Y2K is

coming! Y2K is coming! Y2K<> uh, never mind, Paul G. Labadie


USA TODAY, August 27, 1999, Friday, FINAL EDITION, MONEY;, Pg. 3B, 1441 words, Arbitration

might be only choice, Christine Dugas


USA TODAY, July 26, 1999, Monday, FINAL EDITION, NEWS;, Pg. 14A, 505 words, With

patient-data leaks spreading, Congress fans the flames


USA TODAY, July 13, 1999, Tuesday, FINAL EDITION, MONEY;, Pg. 3B, 755 words, Insurance ads

change tune Campaigns broaden scope as companies branch out, Greg Farrell, NEW YORK


USA TODAY, April 27, 1999, Tuesday, FINAL EDITION, MONEY;, Pg. 2B, 477 words, Focused

Chenault works hard for success, Sandra Block



Copyright 1999 Gannett Company, Inc.


November 5, 1999, Friday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 553 words

HEADLINE: Bush fails Boston reporter's surprise quiz in interview

BYLINE: Paul Leavitt; William M. Welch; Judy Keen ; With staff and wire reports


Republican presidential front-runner George W. Bush flunked a

surprise quiz in a Boston TV interview. Asked to name the leaders

of four trouble spots in the world, he got only Taiwanese President

Lee Teng-hui. He missed Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf of Pakistan, Indian

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Aslan Maskhadov, leader

of the breakaway Russian region of Chechnya.

Bush spokeswoman Karen Hughes said, "For the American people,

the relevant question is not how many names a candidate has memorized,

but does he have the strategic vision to lead and can he protect

American interests."

A spokesman for Vice President Gore, the Democratic presidential

candidate, said the exchange cast doubt on Bush's qualifications

for the White House. "This raises a serious question," Chris

Lehane said. "Does the American public want to take a chance

in 2001 with a president who needs on-the-job training?"

Hughes responded: "Far be it from me to question what a reporter


Also, Bush, criticized for skipping two "town-meeting" style

forums in New Hampshire, will face his rivals Dec. 13 in Iowa.

The debate, sponsored by WHO-TV in Des Moines, will be Bush's

first face-to-face meeting with his opponents in the state that

kicks off the nominating season with its caucuses Jan. 24. Bush

already has agreed to a debate Dec. 2 in Manchester, N.H., in

the state that holds the first primary Feb. 1.

Bush also has accepted invitations to two candidate forums in

January, one each in Iowa and New Hampshire. -- Judy Keen

GUN CONTROL: The big guns in the gun-control debate were

on Capitol Hill on Thursday as the issue resurfaced after multiple

shootings this week in Seattle and Honolulu. Vice President Gore

attacked GOP leaders for "frustrating the will of the American

people by refusing to take up" gun-control legislation.

Meanwhile, National Rifle Association President Charlton Heston

told a House hearing that the Clinton-Gore administration is "putting

gun-toting felons on the streets in record numbers" and not enforcing

existing gun laws.

"Why does the president ask for more federal gun laws if he's

not going to enforce the ones we have? This deadly charade is

killing people," Heston said.

HEALTH CARE: President Clinton urged House Speaker Dennis

Hastert, R-Ill., to appoint new conferees to work out differences

between House and Senate versions of legislation that would overhaul

managed-care laws.

Although the House approved a tough managed-care bill last month,

Hastert filled most of the GOP slots on the negotiating team with

opponents of the bill. --William M. Welch

BANK LAWS OVERHAULED: Congress on Thursday sent President

Clinton a sweeping bill for reshaping the financial landscape

by tearing down the Depression-era barriers between banks, insurance

companies and investment firms.

The vote in the Senate was 90-8. The House vote several hours

later was 362-57, with Republicans in solid support and Democrats


President Clinton said he was eager to sign the bill, which repeals

the landmark 1933 Glass-Steagall Act. The act erected barriers

separating the financial services industries -- a response to

the devastating stock market crash of October 1929 that triggered

the Great Depression.

GRAPHIC: PHOTO, B/W, William Philpott, Reuters; Heston: Federal gun laws are not being enforced, NRA president says at hearing.


LOAD-DATE: November 05, 1999


Copyright 1999 Gannett Company, Inc.


November 5, 1999, Friday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 1367 words

HEADLINE: Congress OKs bill deregulating financial services industry

BYLINE: Christine Dugas


After more than 20 years of trying, Congress passed a bill on

Thursday to eliminate vestiges of Depression-era laws that separate

banks, brokerages and insurance companies.

The bill passed 90-8 in the Senate. Late Thursday night it passed

the House 362-57 with Republicans in solid support and Democrats

split. President Clinton has said he intends to sign it.

Industry groups hailed the bill as a major victory for financial

companies and their customers. But consumer advocates say it will

result in higher prices and less privacy.

Financial services companies put lots of effort, and money, into

the bill. Between January and Oct. 1, banking, insurance and brokerage

firms spent more than $ 30 million on political contributions to

both parties, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

That's up 36% over the same period in 1997, the last election


Financial modernization was not the only issue on the companies'

agenda, but it was certainly at the top. "The quest to deregulate

the financial services industry may rank alongside the push for

managed care as the top lobbied issue of 1999," the center said

in its report on banking deregulation.

An evolution

But for all the time and money spent, the legislation is more

evolutionary than revolutionary. Banks, brokerages and insurance

companies, encouraged by regulators, had found ways around the

old barriers.

"It's a big deal that Congress finally did it, but the overwhelming

majority of opportunities have already been taken advantage of,"

says Thomas O'Brien, chairman of PNC Bank. It, for example, not

only has a brokerage business and offers its customers insurance

from an outside company, but it also provides banking products

to customers of insurance companies.

While the bill knocks down the barriers between banks, brokerages

and insurance companies, it keeps financial services companies

off-limits to commercial firms. Ford Motor, for instance, can't

buy Citigroup.

But the legislation will make it easier and cheaper to create

financial supermarkets.

"In the future, financial services is likely to look like retailing,"

says Lawrence White, a professor of economics at New York University.

"You'll have big financial department stores like Macy's, and

you'll have specialty boutiques like Gap or Foot Locker."

Consumer promises

Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers says the bill will stimulate

competition and therefore increase choice and reduce costs for

consumers, communities and businesses. "If increased competition

yielded savings to consumers of even 5%, they would save over

$ 18 billion per year," he said.

That's a big "if," consumer advocates say. There is no assurance

savings will be passed along. Instead, there is every reason to

conclude the law will lead to more mergers and consolidation.

And most studies have found that large banks charge higher fees

than smaller, community banks.

"Pretty soon we're going to have three financial services firms

in this country, four airlines, two media conglomerates and five

energy giants," says Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., one of the

eight votes against the bill. "And huge financial conglomerates

the size of Citigroup will be truly too big to fail."

The implication is not only that taxpayers would have to step

in if a giant gets in trouble, but that Congress might confuse

Citigroup's interest with the public interest, he says.

The bill also reduces competition by saying non-financial firms,

such as Wal-Mart, can no longer get into banking by buying thrifts,

says Warren Heller, research director at Veribanc, an industry

consulting firm.

Battle over privacy

Customers' privacy has been one of the biggest points of contention

in the bill. Consumer advocates and members of Congress say the

bill doesn't do enough to protect financial privacy. On one hand,

it says banks must let customers tell them not to share personal

information with outside companies, such as telemarketers. But

critics say broadly worded exceptions make it easy to get around

that rule.

Financial services companies will still be able to share customer

account information and other transactional data with affiliates

without telling customers.

"There will be abuses," predicts Martin Mayer, author of

The Bankers: The Next Generation. "There will be a public


The bill also:

* Makes "pretext calling," in which someone uses false

pretenses to obtain private financial information, a federal crime

punishable by up to five years in prison.

* Requires automated teller machine operators to disclose

fees and give customers the right to cancel a transaction before

a fee is charged.

* Requires banks to disclose their privacy policies to

customers every year.

* Prohibits banks from leading customers to believe they

must buy insurance to get a loan.

* Requires banks selling insurance and securities to make

clear that those products are not federally insured.

* Requires banks to have a satisfactory rating on community

lending before they could expand into other financial activities.

* Prohibits federal law from pre-empting stronger state

financial privacy laws.

History of changes in the financial industry

A short history of U.S. financial modernization:

1929: The stock market crash ripples into a banking crisis and

the Great Depression. Nearly 10,000 of the nation's 25,000 banks


1933: The Glass-Steagall Act is passed by Congress and signed

by President Franklin Roosevelt. The act separates banking from

the securities industry and establishes deposit insurance.

1933: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., guaranteeing accounts

up to $ 2,500, opens for business.

1980: The Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control

Act permits interest-rate deregulation and interest-bearing checking

accounts, first step toward removing restrictions on competition

for deposits.

1980: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal

Reserve authorize banks to establish subsidiaries to sell securities

and offer investment advisory services.

1993: Comptroller of the Currency authorizes insurance sales by

national banks in locales with fewer than 5,000 residents.

1999: Congress acts on the Financial Services Modernization Act.

Source: American Bankers Association

Where the money is going

Ten largest bank, securities and insurance company political contributors,

based on Federal Election Commission data as of Oct. 1:

 Organization                           Total[+1]           Dem.                Rep.

 American Financial Group               $876,090          $250,000           $ 626,090

 Citigroup                              $862,726          $484,246           $ 378,230

 Goldman Sachs                          $791,132          $514,484           $ 276,648

 Blue Cross/Blue Shield                 $528,193          $170,171           $ 357,522

 Bank of America                        $453,055          $176,135           $ 276,920

 Welsh Carson                           $422,750           $2,000            $ 420,750

 American Bankers Assn                  $397,051          $170,700           $ 226,351

 American International                 $395,625          $171,500           $ 219,125

 PaineWebber                            $348,250          $119,950           $ 227,800

 Morgan Stanley Dean Witter             $335,955          $143,300           $ 192,655

1 -- Includes soft money, PAC and individual contributions and

contributions to third parties

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

GRAPHIC: PHOTO, B/W, 1930 AP file photo; Bank run: Irate customers gather in front of a closed New York City bank. The Great Depression triggered a financial crisis in which 40% of banks failed.


LOAD-DATE: November 05, 1999


Copyright 1999 Gannett Company, Inc.


October 28, 1999, Thursday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 492 words

HEADLINE: Banking bill protects consumers

BYLINE: Hjalma E. Johnson


Congress should pass the historic financial-modernization legislation

before it. The bill would give consumers more choice, better access

to financial services and, according to the Clinton administration,

lower costs, which will save Americans $ 15 billion a year.

Just as important, the bill protects consumers. It's "the most

extensive financial privacy law ever enacted by Congress," said

House Banking subcommittee Chairwoman Marge Roukema, R-N.J.

Across the aisle, two key House Banking subcommittee Democrats,

John LaFalce, of New York, and Bruce Vento, of Minnesota, told

colleagues in a letter this week that without the bill, the financial-services

system would continue to evolve "on an ad-hoc basis, without

the new protections for consumers and communities this bill incorporates."

The bill enjoys incredibly broad support from Republicans and

Democrats in Congress and the Clinton administration. Last week,

the Rev. Jesse Jackson released a statement endorsing the bill.

The same basic privacy provisions that are in the bill passed

the House earlier by a vote of 327-1.

If enacted, this bill would require all financial institutions

to disclose their privacy policies to customers annually. Customers

would be able to "opt out" of having their private financial

information shared with outside marketing companies. And federal

and state regulators would be directed to set up comprehensive

standards for ensuring the security and confidentiality of consumers'

personal information.

The law would also make "pretext calling," using fraud or deception

to obtain customer information, a federal crime.

While some advocated more sweeping measures, these hadn't been

thought out and would create serious negative consequences. Some

of these proposals would have made it harder to track down criminals

who commit financial fraud, or would have eliminated such accepted

consumer conveniences as combined monthly statements and multiple-account


Customers might even have found that a financial institution couldn't

answer simple account questions because it would have been unable

to gather information on mortgages, loans and checking accounts

in one place.

This legislation is really about serving customers in the Information

Age without tying the hands of banks, insurance companies, securities

firms and credit unions. These financial-service providers want

to offer their equivalent of one-stop shopping, which is really

nothing more than the product of shared customer information.

Clearly, this bill does not address all questions on privacy,

nor is it designed to do that. I know I speak for all bankers

when I say that we've worked hard to earn our customers' trust.

We will work even harder to preserve their trust in the electronic

environment of the future. We will protect the financial

privacy of our customers.

Our future depends on it.


LOAD-DATE: October 28, 1999


Copyright 1999 Gannett Company, Inc.


October 27, 1999, Wednesday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 479 words


BYLINE: Compiled from staff and wire reports


Bond prices fell Tuesday, pushing the yield on the 30-year Treasury

bond to a two-year high, as worries about the economy heating

up aggravated interest rate concerns. The price of the 30-year

Treasury bond fell 11/32 points, or $ 3.44 per $ 1,000. Its yield,

which moves in the opposite direction, rose to 6.37% from 6.35%

Monday, the highest yield since 6.42% on Oct. 22, 1997.

DOLLAR DROPS: The dollar fell against the yen Tuesday amid

expectations that Japan may unveil a larger-than-expected economic

stimulus package. In late New York trading, the dollar was at

104.69 yen, down from 105.31.

PRIVACY THREATENS BILL: Key Democratic lawmakers called

on President Clinton Tuesday to veto sweeping legislation to modernize

financial services laws on grounds it allows too much sharing

of consumers' private financial information without their permission.

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., is leading the fight. In the Senate,

Richard Shelby, R-Ala., has served notice that he will try to

force changes in privacy provisions and failing that, try to derail

the bill. Under Senate rules, a single senator can hold up action

for hours or days if he chooses.

RATIFIED: United Auto Workers union members at Ford Motor

have ratified a new four-year contract, with 85% of those voting

favoring it. The vote ends months of negotiations that saw the

UAW win gains in wages and pensions without a major walkout. The

union has said that deals with Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler

will increase the average member's pay by $ 29,000 over four years.

NO VOTE: Representatives from Fortune 500 companies

postponed a decision Tuesday on whether to loosen the definition

of minority-owned businesses. The National Minority Supplier Development

Council now requires that companies be 51% minority-owned, but

was considering changing that to 30% for publicly traded companies

on a case-by-case basis. Those for the change said it would help

companies grow by selling stock. Some minority groups said it

could hurt small companies' chances of selling to big companies.

JET FLAP: Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune criticized

Airbus Industrie ads touting the four-engine A340 models for trans-Pacific

flights. Bethune says the ads "exploit the fears of the traveling

public" that two- and three-engine airliners may be less safe.

Airbus says the ads, in industry magazines, were not meant "to

scare anyone." Continental flies two-engine Boeing 777s over

the Pacific.

KIDS' SITES: Viacom's MTV Networks unveiled a company Tuesday,

Nickelodeon Online, that will operate its kids-oriented Web sites

and might be spun off. The unit will include destinations for

children ranging from preschoolers to teens and for fans of sitcoms.

There also will be sites featuring interactive games, help for

teachers and toy sales.


LOAD-DATE: November 02, 1999


Copyright 1999 Gannett Company, Inc.


October 25, 1999, Monday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 407 words

HEADLINE: Bank reform bill moves close to vote in Congress

BYLINE: Christine Dugas


Congress has overcome the last big hurdle to completing a 25-year

effort to modernize the financial services industry.

The landmark bill would remove the remaining Depression-era barriers

between banks, insurance companies and brokerages. It could go

to the full House and Senate for a vote this week. Although the

exact wording of the bill remains to be seen, experts predict

it will pass both houses and be signed by President Clinton.

"The financial services modernization legislation is the most

important banking legislation in 60 years," said Phil Gramm,

R-Texas, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

Early Friday morning, lawmakers and the administration reached

a compromise on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which requires

banks to address the credit needs of low-income neighborhoods.

Among amendments approved was a provision to prohibit any financial

holding company from engaging in new activities if its bank has

an unsatisfactory or lower CRA rating.

"The final bill assures that CRA remains vital and relevant in

the new financial landscape," Jesse Jackson said.

Although the walls separating financial services industries have

been eroded, the bill would greatly ease the way for the various

businesses to join together. One immediate beneficiary is Citigroup,

which was formed by the merger last year of Citicorp, parent of

Citibank, and Travelers Group, parent of Travelers insurance company

and brokerage Salomon Smith Barney. Without legislative reform,

the company would have to divest operations or restructure.

Proponents say the bill would lead to lower prices and greater

convenience. But consumer groups say it does not do enough to

protect privacy and ensure affordable banking.

Among other things, the bill would:

* Extend the prohibition on mixing banking and commerce

so that commercial businesses could not buy savings and loans.

Banks that already own S&Ls would be exempt.

* Make "pretext calling," in which someone uses false

pretenses to obtain private financial information, a federal crime

punishable by up to five years in prison.

* Require banks to disclose their privacy policies annually.

* Prohibit banks from implying that getting a loan is conditional

upon buying insurance.

* Require regulators to develop procedures for consumers

to recover losses related to the misrepresentation of risky investments.


LOAD-DATE: October 25, 1999


Copyright 1999 Gannett Company, Inc.


October 13, 1999, Wednesday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 1191 words

HEADLINE: Russia rattles Swiss banks New laws lift shroud of secrecy amid money-laundering scrutiny

BYLINE: Tom Lowry



GENEVA -- On any given afternoon, Russian businessmen gather in

the outdoor caf&eacute;s here overlooking serene Lake Geneva and

the snow-covered Alps beyond. They sip espressos, chain-smoke

Turkish cigarettes and talk about -- what else? -- money.

The Russians are no different than any of the other international

business people who fly into Switzerland every day to oversee

deposits into the super-secretive accounts of Swiss banks. The

ritual has gone on for decades.

But lately -- with the spotlight on expanding investigations into

money-laundering allegations -- the well-monied Russians are stirring

suspicions among the private bankers who discreetly cater to the

world's wealthiest.

"The bankers here are desperately afraid of Russian money,"

says Andre, a private banker in Geneva for 12 years.

Andre asks that his last name not be used. "It would just be

too dangerous," he says. He fears the scrutiny of regulators

and investigators and the wrath of his fellow bankers.

"Middle Eastern money: You know where it comes from -- oil, right?"

Andre says. "But the money coming out of Russia and Eastern Europe,

it's hard to tell. Russians will do anything to get money out

of the country."

Investigators from at least four countries are probing separate

allegations that billions of dollars, including International

Monetary Fund loans, were illegally diverted by Kremlin officials,

businesses and Russian organized crime groups through U.S., Swiss

and other banks. The investigations have resulted in more than

two dozen Swiss bank accounts being frozen. Last week in New York,

federal prosecutors filed the first criminal charges in the largest

case, which involves $ 7 billion that moved through accounts at

the Bank of New York. The bank is cooperating in the investigation.

The heightened scrutiny comes as new money-laundering laws here

are opening up Swiss banks as never before. Money laundering is

the criminal act of disguising the proceeds of a crime. That's

often accomplished by transferring funds through multiple bank

accounts, shell companies and legitimate businesses to mask the

origin of the money.

For almost 60 years, Swiss banks have been the most secretive

in the world. The banks began to thrive after World War II as

depositors in Europe sought the political stability Switzerland


Bank accounts identified in internal databases by only a number

are common. Bankers will often give the numbered accounts nicknames.

The identities of the account holders are known only by a select

group of senior bank officers.

Until a few years ago, bankers who made any voluntary disclosures

about accounts or clients could have gone to prison. The laws

have changed, but the mystique remains -- and money continues

to pour in.

Lightning-fast wire transfers can relocate money around the world

in minutes with a few taps on a computer. Still, once a week someone

carrying a metal briefcase full of millions in cash will knock

on Andre's door. "They will have just crossed the border from

Italy or France and want to deposit the money. We graciously turn

them away," he says.

All-cash business

Money-laundering experts say those mysterious visitors at bankers'

doorsteps are not uncommon. "Carrying cold cash is still a common

way for money to be deposited in offshore banking havens," says

Fred Meyers, a consultant who recently retired as a top money-laundering

investigator at the IRS. "After all, most crime is still an all-cash


"If we take dirty money but aren't aware it's dirty, it's no

excuse," Andre says. "The mentality has become so strict. Ultimately,

clients aren't being taken care of because of this fear."

But Daniel DeVaud, a Geneva magistrate who is investigating some

of the allegations, says: "My question is, do these banks have

a reason to be nervous? What do they do to look into the profile

of a customer?"

More than 400 banks operate offices in Switzerland and have more

than $ 2 trillion under management, according to the Swiss Bankers

Association. Many of those banks are affiliates of U.S. banks,

such as Citibank, Chase Manhattan, Bank of New York and Republic

National Bank.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Switzerland has become a favorite

depository for money flowing out of Russia. Swiss officials estimate

that up to $ 50 billion in Russian capital is deposited in Swiss

banks. The Russian money has been accompanied by an influx of

Russians. The government on average issues more than 70,000 visas

a year to people from the former Soviet Union.

That migration has raised concerns among the Swiss about a growing

presence of Russian organized crime.

The Swiss federal police have established a special unit to track

Russian crime gangs. Those investigations often lead to the bank

accounts held by Russian companies, Swiss investigators say.

"The Russians' image of Switzerland is sort of like their pop

music. It's stuck in the 1960s. Switzerland now has stringent

money-laundering laws to prevent any kind of dodgy money from

being deposited," says James Nason, head of international affairs

for the Swiss Bankers Association.

Suspicious activity

The first major steps to a more open banking system came in 1993

when a law was passed at a "due diligence convention" that abolished

accounts that could be set up by lawyers and trustees on behalf

of anonymous parties. The banks never knew whose money was being

held in the accounts.

Another law passed in Switzerland in the early 1990s gave bankers

the "right" to report suspicious transactions and to notify

prosecutors without violating the strict tenets of Switzerland's

bank secrecy laws. Last year, the Swiss went further, passing

a law stipulating that banks and other financial services companies

are "obligated" to report suspicious transactions.

That law also requires institutions to clarify with the customer

the purpose of any transaction if it appears to be unusual. And

it mandates bankers implement stricter due-diligence measures

to learn more about clients and the source of their money.

"It is still too early to determine the effectiveness of this

new legislation, but it is a positive response by Switzerland

to fight against money laundering," says a U.S. State Department

report on money laundering released earlier this year.

Between April 1998 and April 1999, Swiss banks filed 160 suspicion

transaction reports, and 107 of them were passed on to prosecutors,

says Nason of the bankers association. Swiss banks also assist

in about 2,000 international money-laundering cases a year.

"Ten years ago, no one could have imagined Switzerland would

have this structure," says Jean Francois Thony, a money-laundering

expert with the United Nations in Vienna.

"Money launderers are not targeting countries like Switzerland

any more, not at the first stages anyway. But associates of organized

crime in Eastern Europe react with the same old ideas: You have

to have a house on the Riviera and invest in Switzerland."

GRAPHIC: GRAPHIC, Color, Genevieve Lynn, USA TODAY; PHOTO, Color, Beatrix Strampfli, AP, for USA TODAY; PHOTO, B/W, Beatrix Strampfli, AP, for USA TODAY; Fear of Russia: Money-laundering probes have made banks leery. Shown are Credit Suisse and United European Bank in Geneva. Under microscope: As part of a money-laundering probe, investigators are reviewing accounts at Bank of New York-Inter Maritime Bank Geneva.


LOAD-DATE: October 13, 1999


Copyright 1999 Gannett Company, Inc.


September 27, 1999, Monday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 854 words

HEADLINE: Y2K is coming! Y2K is coming! Y2K<> uh, never mind

BYLINE: Paul G. Labadie


It happened as I was going through a box of old family photos,

looking at the faces of my great-great grandparents. The lights

in the house began to flicker with each thunderclap before settling

to low voltage for a moment, and then, finally, completely off.

No lights, no TV, no air conditioning. I looked out my front door

and saw the whole block had gone dark. I called the power company

and was told that it would be at least 24 hours before power could

be restored.

"The whole area is out, trees are down," the power company representative

told me. "It's a disaster on the south side."

As I hung up the phone, I thought it was odd to have a disaster

I would be able to get some sleep through.

The United States is in its hurricane season, a time East Coast

residents brace for and beach-property owners dread. Winds that

can rip the roof off a home -- and cause flooding that would make

Noah blanch -- have easily and accurately earned the term "disaster."

Hurricane Floyd is the most recent example.

But "disaster" loses its distinction when used frivolously for

affectation. The natural disasters our grandparents had to endure

came with no radar, no Weather Channel and often no warning.

The early warnings are now a godsend, no doubt saving lives and

property by giving the necessary time for preparation. But they

also allow a window of opportunity for those who would dramatize

events for their own purposes.

Local TV weather people often seize any venial opportunity to

get on camera, interrupting regular programming to report an approaching

rain cloud. Weather bulletins, once reserved for devastating tornadoes

or blizzard warnings, now report approaching showers and winter

frost advisories to cover up the plants.

We have watered down the acceptable definition of "disaster"

to the point where true disaster has become almost unfathomable.

The famous Johnstown Flood of 1889 took more than 2,200 lives.

In 1904, an excursion steamer, General Slocum, burned in

the East River of New York, killing 1,030 passengers. In 1900,

a hurricane in Galveston, Texas, killed 8,000 people. Another

hurricane in 1928 hit south Florida, leaving 1,836 people dead.

And in 1918, an influenza epidemic killed 548,000 Americans and

millions of others worldwide.

That is why I have trouble labeling the Y2K situation a "disaster."

The advance warning and preparation have been so exhausting that

to call it an "oncoming disaster" would have Chicken Little

yawning. Airlines, banking institutions and private companies

have spent billions reprogramming and debugging software, in many

cases software that was already in need of upgrading. This June,

members of the National Emergency Management Association overwhelmingly

reported they already were "confident" or "very confident"

that seven critical infrastructures -- law enforcement, fire,

water, power, financial services, communications and sewer --

were ready for any Y2K problems. And 94% of public safety and

public health organizations said they had or were finishing contingency

plans for problem areas.

The reality of having a few street lights out or being unable

to surf the Web for a day or so hardly creates a situation that

necessitates the stockpiling of water, food, gasoline, and, for

the truly Y2KO'd, ammunition and toilet paper.

Much like the bomb shelters of the 1950s, Y2K survival supplies

likely will become the white elephants of the 1990s. Beyond keeping

a healthy supply of batteries and a jug of water, most Y2K anxieties

are exaggerations bred by the paranoia brokers: merchants trying

to create a market for their survival gear; conspiracy enthusiasts

who feed, and feed on, public panic; a media spinning concerns

into crisis in a desperate attempt to hold our shrinking national

attention span.

You cannot go wrong predicting bad fortune. If you are correct,

you are a genius. If you are wrong, you can take credit for sounding

the alarm that prevented it.

One has to wonder if the old story about the boy crying wolf has

been replaced by "The Boy Who Rang Out a Warning: A Crisis Averted."

The worry and concerns of some people about the Y2K situation

seem to be the result of a national lost perspective. We tend

to overreact to situations we perceive to be out of our control.

Getting stuck in road construction is now cause for road rage;

bullied students can experience school rage. We've got retail

rage, cyber rage, and presumably, not long until rainy-day rage.

Problems that were once responded to with "How are we

going to solve this?" now bring the reaction, "How am I going

to handle this?" This is an attitude born not out of independence,

but introversion. Real disasters deserve our concern. Pseudo-disasters

deserve our self-control.

After the power in my house came back on, I looked once again

at the old photographs. All our great-great grandparents would

probably laugh at our softness. No lights? No TV? No computer?

Our new "disasters" were their everyday life.

Have a nice millennium.

GRAPHIC: GRAPHIC, b/w, Bob Laird, USA TODAY(Illustration)


LOAD-DATE: September 27, 1999


Copyright 1999 Gannett Company, Inc.


August 27, 1999, Friday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 1441 words

HEADLINE: Arbitration might be only choice

BYLINE: Christine Dugas


Get out your magnifying glass.

Unless you read the fine print in your bank and credit card applications,

account agreements and statement inserts, you may not realize

you're giving up the right to sue if you have a dispute.

Banks, credit card issuers and other lenders are turning to mandatory

arbitration to cut their legal costs. And some of their arbitration

clauses not only prohibit you from suing, but also ban class-action


Lenders also frequently set the terms of arbitration and pick

the arbitration service you'll use to resolve a claim.

Some lawyers and consumer groups say that stacks the deck against


Creditors tout arbitration clauses as a cost-effective, fair and

efficient way to resolve consumer disputes. Consumer advocates

counter that binding arbitration deprives consumers of their right

to a jury trial, discovery of the facts, and statutory and punitive

damages, says Julie Kline, editor of the Consumer Financial

Services Law Report.

Consumers have gone to court to challenge mandatory arbitration.

But legal experts say courts aren't likely to strike down an arbitration

agreement unless there is something particularly unfair about


For example, courts frown on agreements that force consumers to

pay arbitration fees, which can amount to several thousand dollars,

before they can arbitrate a small claim, says Paul Bland, a staff

attorney at Trial Lawyers for Public Justice. And the courts might

strike down clauses that bar consumers from suing but let the

company retain its right to go to court.

Watch what you sign

As a rule, if you sign a bank or credit card agreement that contains

an arbitration clause -- no matter how small the type -- you'll

probably be stuck with it.

It's less clear whether an arbitration clause will hold up if

a bank or card company imposes it just by putting a notice in

its monthly bills. A California Court of Appeals ruled last year

that Bank of America acted illegally when it put an arbitration

clause in a statement stuffer. But that ruling applies only to

California customers.

That hasn't stopped companies such as American Express from adding

arbitration clauses. Among other financial services companies

that require arbitration are First USA, the giant credit card

issuer, and Green Tree Financial, a big home-improvement lender.

If you don't like the trend, you can always do business with another

bank or get another credit card, some industry experts say. But

that may be unrealistic, given the proliferation of arbitration.

"Whether it's a good thing or not, it's happening," says Peter

Lovenheim, author of How to Mediate Your Dispute. "What

concerns me is that many people don't know how to prepare for


How arbitration works

Here's the basic rundown:

* Arbitration is intended to provide an alternative to

costly legal battles. A survey by the National Center for State

Courts found that nearly 70% of those polled believe it isn't

affordable to bring a case to court.

"If I'm an individual consumer, and I have a specific dispute,

I'd rather be able to quickly and inexpensively resolve it through

arbitration or mediation," Lovenheim says.

* Most arbitration is confidential. That means you can't

discuss your case. And you can't find out how similar cases have

been decided.

* Many experts say arbitration works best when it is voluntary,

and when consumers can choose the arbitration service. A lot of

companies specialize in what's called alternative dispute resolution.

The big national firms include the American Arbitration Association

(AAA 800-778-7879), JAMS/Endispute (800-352-5267) and the National

Arbitration Forum (800-474-2371).

Better Business Bureaus also provide arbitration. And there are

many local and regional firms, as well as solo practitioners,

such as retired judges, who arbitrate disputes.

But many companies require customers to use a firm the company

has picked. And consumer advocates are concerned that creates

a conflict of interest.

Britton Monts, a Dallas lawyer, is challenging First USA's arbitration

agreement, which forces customers to use the National Arbitration

Forum. Among other things, Monts claims the Forum's policies are

biased against consumers.

"Every rule in our procedure conforms with the law, and our procedures

have repeatedly been upheld by the courts," says Edward Anderson,

the Forum's managing director.

* Arbitration rulings usually are binding, and it's difficult

to challenge them. In general, you can only appeal if the arbitrator

made a calculation error or if you have evidence the arbitrator

was biased.

* Although arbitration is supposed to be inexpensive, that's

not always the case.

For example, JAMS/Endispute requires each party to pay a $ 250

administrative fee. You will also pay an hourly fee for the arbitrator.

Fees can quickly exceed the amount of a small credit card claim.

At other firms, filing fees vary according to the amount of the

claim. The National Arbitration Forum charges $ 49 for claims under

$ 1,000. At AAA, the minimum filing fee is $ 125.

And you may get hit with other charges, depending on the complexity

of your case.

* Many firms now offer low-cost arbitration for small claims.

There is no in-person hearing. Instead, the arbitrator decides

the case based on documents submitted by each side.

That may be fine for a simple case.

But in other cases, a hearing may help. Lovenheim cites a case

of a music student who was injured in an auto accident. When she

went to arbitration with the insurance company, she could show

how a shoulder injury made it difficult to play the bassoon.

* You still may need to hire a lawyer. Most companies will

be represented by a lawyer unless the claim is very small, experts

say. You may only need to get help on the best way to present

your case. But if your claim is large, you probably will want

a lawyer to handle it.

* Most companies let you have some input into the selection

of the arbitrator or arbitrators who will decide your case. For

example, you might receive a list of several arbitrators along

with a synopsis of their work history. Each side would get to

strike one name and rank the others.

"Ultimately, you want someone sitting at the head of the table

who is impartial and knowledgeable about the subject," Lovenheim


What you should know

If arbitration is your only avenue for resolving a dispute, consider

these questions carefully before pursuing your case:

* Is the arbitrator's decision binding?

* Does the arbitration clause ban you from small claims court?

* Does the arbitration clause prohibit you from joining a class-action


* What will it cost?

* Find out where the hearing will be held.

* If the arbitrator decides against you, must you pay the other

side's legal bills?

* Can you request a waiver of fees?

* Can you choose the arbitration firm?

* How is the individual arbitrator selected?

* How much information will you get about the arbitrator's background?

* What kind of evidence can you present?

* Can you get documents to support your case from the opposing


* Can you bring witnesses to a hearing?

* If small claims are decided by a document arbitration without

a hearing, can you ask for one?

* Can you get punitive damages?

NASDR regulates brokers, firms

If you have a dispute with your stockbroker, you could end up

in arbitration administered by the National Association of Securities

Dealers Regulation. NASDR handles more than 5,000 cases a year,

or about 90% of U.S. securities arbitration cases. The process

is different from most other types of arbitration:

* It is managed by NASDR -- an industry group that regulates U.S.

stockbrokers and brokerage firms -- rather than by a private arbitration

provider. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S.

General Accounting Office oversee the arbitration process.

* Investors not only get employment information on prospective

arbitrators, they also get computer printouts of the arbitrator's

five most recent decisions, including details of the cases and

amounts of the awards.

* Investors are not banned from entering a class-action suit against

the brokerage firm. But they are not eligible for arbitration

if they get involved in a class-action suit.

* If a registered broker refuses to pay an arbitration award to

an investor, NASDR can bring disciplinary proceedings and suspend

the broker.

GRAPHIC: GRAPHIC, B/W, Web Bryant, USA TODAY; GRAPHIC, B/W, Jerry Mosemak, USA TODAY, Source: NASD Regulation (BAR GRAPH)


LOAD-DATE: August 27, 1999


Copyright 1999 Gannett Company, Inc.


July 26, 1999, Monday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 505 words

HEADLINE: With patient-data leaks spreading, Congress fans the flames


If you happen to live in Georgia, your genetic information is

a closely guarded secret. Results from genetic tests can't be

released to anyone without your permission.

Eighteen other states also padlock that sensitive personal information,

more or less. But in the remaining 31 states, genetic data are

pretty much an open book.

So it goes with medical privacy. Thanks to the lack of any uniform

national privacy rules, states have, on their own, tried to give

residents some modicum of privacy protection. But the rules are

spotty and often weak.

And as if that's not bad enough, Congress is close to making things

worse. The House passed a bill earlier this month that could strip

some existing state laws.

To get a sense of how unprotected patients' medical records are

from prying eyes today, consider this: Just two states -- Rhode

Island and Wisconsin -- have comprehensive medical privacy statutes.

The rest have tackled the issue in piecemeal fashion, according

to a survey of state privacy laws by Georgetown University's Health

Privacy Project. A little protection for this ailment here, some

disclosure rules for that provider there. Some examples:

* Just 11 states give privacy rights to those diagnosed

with birth defects.

* Only four protect information about abortion.

* Just 17 states specifically restrict disclosures by mental

health providers.

* Only 18 states put restrictions on insurance company


The result is that the most sensitive information about medical

conditions and treatments is left unprotected. That becomes more

troubling every day, as technology eases collection of health

data and as the list of those hoping to use that data grows.

Employers use medical information in hiring decisions, pharmacies

sell prescription data to marketers, and researchers collect patient

records for their studies. All without the patients' knowledge

or consent.

Given this state of affairs, it's no surprise that one in six

patients reports taking extreme steps -- such as avoiding doctors

or paying cash -- to preserve privacy.

Congress long ago recognized that this situation was unacceptable.

Three years ago it vowed to enact comprehensive privacy laws.

It even gave itself a deadline of August 21.

Yet with just four weeks remaining, lawmakers are showing signs

that, if anything, they intend to make matters worse.

A "privacy" provision tucked in a House financial services bill

would, among other things, open records to credit agencies and

banks without patient consent. That measure awaits Senate approval.

At the same time, comprehensive privacy bills are bogged down

thanks to industry pressure against them.

Based on the rules Congress set for itself, missing the August

deadline means that regulators must craft the protections, and

early signs are that those won't be strong enough.

Unless Congress sees the light, and soon, patients will be left

with the luck of the state privacy draw.

GRAPHIC: GRAPHIC, B/W, Alejandro Gonzalez, USA TODAY, Source: Georgetown University's Health Privacy Project (BAR GRAPH)


LOAD-DATE: August 12, 1999

10 of 11 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 1999 Gannett Company, Inc.


July 13, 1999, Tuesday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 755 words

HEADLINE: Insurance ads change tune Campaigns broaden scope as companies branch out

BYLINE: Greg Farrell



NEW YORK -- Allstate Insurance, the "good hands" people, launches

a new ad campaign during tonight's telecast of Major League Baseball's

All-Star game. The campaign's goal: to introduce you to some of

the faces behind the hands.

The campaign has other goals as well. At a time when low-cost

insurance providers are signing people up via 800 numbers, Allstate

is reminding viewers that in times of crisis, it helps to have

real live agents to process your claim.

But perhaps the most important goal: Allstate is positioning itself

for the prospect of a brave new world embedded in the Citicorp/Travelers


Spurred on by that marriage between a bank and an insurance company,

Congress is considering the Financial Services Deregulation Act,

which would let everyone from banks to stockbrokers to insurers

compete more directly in each other's businesses.

"When you look at the financial services landscape, it's radically

changing," says Robert Devlin, CEO of American General Financial

Group. "Even though the regulatory environment has not yet been

opened, we have been in one another's businesses, to some extent."

Over the past year, a number of insurance companies have stepped

up their ad spending to try to strengthen their brand images in

a more crowded marketplace, as well as to adjust their images

to be more appropriate for the wider selection of services they'll

be offering:

* American General Financial Group, which had been spending

just $ 4 million a year to promote its insurance and retirement

products, launched a $ 25 million ad campaign last fall, sponsoring

major events including the World Series, the NFL playoffs and

the NCAA basketball tournament. It will also advertise on tonight's

All-Star game. The campaign's broad theme: "Live the life you've


* The Hartford Financial Services Group launched a campaign

on the Super Bowl in January that takes a light-hearted view of

accidents. The irreverent viewpoint, combined with a message of

empowerment, stands out in the category. The theme: "Whatever

life brings. Bring it on."

* Metropolitan Life Insurance, which plans to demutualize

and go public, has used Snoopy and other Peanuts characters over

the years to support its slogan, "Get Met. It pays." But as

it branches out, it is aware that Snoopy may not be the best spokesperson

to sell stocks and securities. Its new ad campaign, launched in

March, introduces viewers to some of its agents, much like the

current Allstate campaign.

"This is not an anti-Snoopy decision," explains Kevin Foley,

vice president of public relations at Met Life. "What we wanted

to do is feature the role our agents play in the lives of our

customers. But certainly the world of insurance companies is changing,

and people have to be mindful of that." According to Foley, MetLife

is spending about $ 25 million on advertising this year.

Financial services advertising is tricky because companies are

selling intangibles like trust, not specific products like sports

cars or coffee beans.

"It has become a more crowded marketplace," says Edward Spehar,

life insurance analyst at Merrill Lynch. "The real challenge

is how to differentiate yourself so people remember who you are."

In order to stand out, Hartford took an unusual route for its

business: humor. "We wanted to break through the clutter," says

Ed Morgan, head of corporate relations. "The light-hearted nature

of the ads help people say we're a different kind of company."

Allstate's new campaign tries to break through the clutter from

the opposite direction. It shows graphic footage of the devastation

that can follow catastrophes like hurricanes and lets some of

its own agents describe how they helped policyholders. The ads,

from agency Leo Burnett, all conclude the same way: "You're in

good hands with Allstate. Mine."

"These are all real stories and real people," says Jill Weaver,

vice president of advertising at Allstate. " 'You're in good

hands' will always remain our slogan."

Such consistency may not be good enough, some observers warn.

"For years, the insurance industry has been about big rocks and

umbrellas and symbols of reassurance and security and trust,"

says Steve Gardner, a principal at the Gardner Nelson Project.

"That is just going to be one of the dimensions that will be

important in a world where you can get a whole range of financial

services from one buyer. They have to broaden beyond that."

GRAPHIC: PHOTO, B/W; PHOTO, B/W; PHOTO, B/W; Serious message: Allstate's campaign shows footage of devastation and lets some of its agents describe how they helped policyholders. The ads all conclude: 'You're in good hands with Allstate. Mine.' More upbeat: Hartford Financial Services Group launched a campaign on the Super Bowl in January with the theme: 'Whatever life brings. Bring it on.' Move over: Snoopy won't star in MetLife's new campaign.


LOAD-DATE: July 13, 1999

11 of 11 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 1999 Gannett Company, Inc.


April 27, 1999, Tuesday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 477 words

HEADLINE: Focused Chenault works hard for success

BYLINE: Sandra Block


Kenneth Chenault has always worked extremely hard, and he's almost

always devoted his prodigious energy to American Express.

Chenault, a 1976 graduate of Harvard Law School, went to work

for the financial services giant in 1981. Before joining American

Express, he spent two years at Rogers and Wells, a top Wall Street

law firm, then moved on to Bain & Co., a management consulting


Chenault (pronounced shen-ALT) started in the strategic planning

department of Travel Related Services, American Express' card

and travel unit. From there, he worked his way up the corporate

hierarchy, putting in 11-hour days and spending many evenings

entertaining clients.

His work ethic has been put to the test at American Express. Comfortable

with its No. 1 position, AmEx had become sluggish.

When Chenault was put in charge of a corporate restructuring program

in 1995, he grabbed the opportunity to shake up the system. In

an 18-month period, the firm introduced more card products than

it had the previous 10 years. It added the Optima credit card,

launched co-branded cards and allowed customers to redeem points

for products.

Chenault has always been an achiever. He was president of his

high school class and captain of his senior track, basketball

and soccer teams.

As a student at Bowdoin College in the early 1970s, he was involved

in efforts to recruit more African-American students and professors,

but distanced himself from more militant activists.

Instead, he wrote a senior thesis on the history of African-Americans

at Bowdoin. While the college had always boasted of having one

of the nation's first black college graduates, Chenault pointed

out that for decades afterward, it had none.

In an interview, Chenault said he doesn't expect Monday's announcement,

which won't take affect for two years, to change the way he works.

"I've always been focused on performance," he says, "not what

my next job would be."


About Kenneth Chenault

Born: June 2, 1951

Education: Bachelor of Arts in history, Bowdoin College,

Maine, 1973; Harvard Law, 1976

First job out of law school: Rogers & Wells, Wall Street

law firm

Career at American Express: Joined in 1981 as director

of strategic planning; president of Consumer Card Group, 1989;

president of American Express Travel Related Services U.S., 1993;

vice chairman of American Express, 1995; president and chief operating

officer, 1997

Total 1998 compensation: $ 6.5 million

Corporate board memberships: American Express, IBM, Quaker


Other memberships: National Collegiate Athletic Association,

NYU Medical Center, Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Council

on Foreign Relations

Hobbies: Skiing and tennis

Personal: Lives in New York with wife Kathryn and two sons

GRAPHIC: PHOTO, B/W, Gino Domenico, AP


LOAD-DATE: April 27, 1999