WASHINGTON - Most bankers probably have not heard of Shelby County in Alabama or Forsyth County in North Carolina. But next Tuesday, voters there could determine the balance of power on the House Banking Committee for years to come.

North Carolina's Stephen L. Neal and Alabama's Benjamin Erdreich are among the last members of a bloc of Democrats on the committee whom banks and thrifts have looked to over the years to safeguard their interests. Both are in tight races.

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