It experienced a slew of bad loans at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the '90s. And it took a restructuring and an intense investor-relations effort to convince independent investors that the company knew what it was doing. In early 1999, that effort succeeded. Between February and November of that year UnionBanCal's stock soared 26%.

But that effort was undone last year as the bank ran into another spate of bad loans. The company recently said it would report net charge-offs of between $165 million and $185 million for 2000's fourth quarter, and that nonperforming assets would rise to between $400 million and $450 million.

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