Edward E. Crutchfield Jr. believes banks can meet the competition from nonbank financial institutions head on -- and win. The chairman and chief executive of First Union Corp. is steering his $72 billion-asset company into an all-out war to manage customers' finances. And he continues to say he's willing to give up the government's deposit insurance guarantee to do it.

The North Carolina-based company plans to have 2,600 of its employees trained to sell mutual funds by the end of 1994 -- an allocation of at least two employees for every one of First Union's 1,300 branches.

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