CHARLOTTE - Many banks around the country pay lip service to the notion of competing with Wall Street to win back customers and markets. But few have put their money on the table to make it happen like First Union Corp.

In January 1994, First Union announced the formation of a new Capital Markets Group to offer Wall Street-type services to its middle-market customer base. Most of the infrastructure for the new unit was already in place, as First Union simply combined its corporate banking and funds management divisions.

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