Wachovia Corp. turned a casual referral network with the largest accountants association in South Carolina into a formal link.

Wachovia employees will speak at the accountants' conferences and the bank will provide materials for special training seminars. The bank and the accountants association will also link their web sites.

A bank spokesman said the relationship will help Wachovia provide banking services for the accountants and the small-business customers the accountants serve.

Bankers often look for referrals from accountants because small-business owners tend to trust them. But few banks have such formal relationships.

"We are pleased to partner with Wachovia to help our CPAs meet their professional educational requirements and better fulfill their roles as valued advisers," said Debra Turner, president of the South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants.

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