Banc One Corp. plans to introduce a "back-end load" option for its proprietary mutual fund family in January, joining a handful of banks that allow investors to defer their sales charges until redemption.

Known formally as contingent deferred sales charges. back-end loads are gaining popularity in the funds industry as an alternative to the traditional up-front sales charges on mutual fund purchases. If investors hold on to back-end funds long enough, they can avoid paying sales fees altogether.

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