CoreStates Financial Corp.'s planned acquisition of neighboring Meridian Bancorp would force the companies to confront a key question on the money management front: Which proprietary mutual funds should survive and which should be laid to rest?

Each of the Pennsylvania-based banking companies has a proprietary mutual fund family, and they are roughly equal in size. CoreStates has $1.8 billion spread among its 29 Core Funds, and Meridian Bancorp has $1.6 billion in its 22 Conestoga Funds, according to Lipper Analytical Services, Summit, N.J.

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