When First Union Corp. spent $20 billion to buy CoreStates Financial Corp. of Philadelphia in April 1998, CoreStates customer Jay Ranalli had some unpleasant surprises.

Mr. Ranalli is co-owner of Broudy Precision Equipment Co., a West Conshohocken, Pa., climate-control supply company that had had a 20-year relationship with CoreStates. After First Union took over, Broudy, a company with 30 employees, went through four loan officers in three months.

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