On Aug. 3, the day Chase Manhattan Bank announced that it was purchasing American Residential Holding Corp., John M. Robbins Jr. called a "town meeting."

Crowded behind closed doors in a ballroom at the Del Mar Hilton near La Jolla, Calif., where the lender is based, the 500 or so American Residential employees began grilling Mr. Robbins, the chairman and chief executive, about the sale.

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