Just five years ago, Marketing One Inc. was at the top of its game. In the promising new business of helping banks sell mutual funds and annuities, it was the No. 1 company, with $2 billion of sales through 100 clients.

Today, that once-bustling business is a shadow of its old self. Mergers and missteps have cost the Portland, Ore., firm half its clients, maybe more. Sales tumbled to $703 million in 1997, according to a survey by Kenneth Kehrer Associates.

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