First Union Corp. and Wachovia Corp's combined banking operations would still have a strong regional emphasis, but their brokerage unit, assembled mainly by First Union through acquisitions ranging from Chicago to Boca Raton, Fla., to Albany, N.Y., cover much more ground.

The proposed merger would create the country's second-largest bank-owned brokerage force, with 8,380 licensed brokers. Citigroup Inc.'s Salomon Smith Barney is the largest, with 12,439.

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