Wells Fargo's reputation as a reliable bank with a history of serving small business owners was enough to command the attention of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB)-which ranks fourth in Fortune's "Washington's Power 25" in 1997-and give the bank the chance to offer tailored medical savings accounts (MSAs) to the group's more than 500,000 members. "We felt that Wells Fargo was a strong player that was making a significant commitment to MSAs," says NFIB members services director Bud Curtis.

After Congress passed a trial MSA program in 1996, NFIB's members clamored for information and access to the unique flexible spending accounts (FSAs) that allow small businesses with high-deductible insurance policies to save money in a tax-free custodian account to be used for out- of-pocket medical expenses or eventually for retirement. "It actually wasn't on our target screen, but it came to the front burner very quickly," Curtis says.

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