First Union Corp. this week joined an elite group of U.S. banks with the ability to underwrite debt and equity securities.

The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday approved the North Carolina company's application for enhanced Tier 2 section 20 powers, putting it on a par with 17 other banks - including Chase Manhattan Corp., First Chicago Corp., Chemical Banking Corp., Citicorp, J.P. Morgan & Co., and NationsBank Corp..

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