BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Is Harry B. Brock Jr. a banking visionary, or just an old man tilting at windmills? The future of Compass Bancshares Inc. may ride on the answer.

Mr. Brock, Compass's founder, is fighting probably the last great battle of his distinguished career as he tries to gain control of the bank's board through a proxy challenge. In pursuing his conviction that Compass needs to be sold - now - Mr. Brock is wrecking lifelong friendships and leaving his company badly divided.

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