The industry's rapid-fire consolidation has fueled an open and vitriolic dispute between a high-profile chief executive officer and a leading stock analyst.

The tensions flared up last week as Edward E. Crutchfield of First Union Corp. briefed analysts on his megadeal for CoreStates Financial Corp. Questions from Thomas K. Brown of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc. immediately drew a caustic response from the CEO.

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