Buffeted by intense competition in the mortgage market and a weak California economy, Fidelity Federal Bank is experimenting with another variation on thrift survival strategies.

Fidelity is staking its future on deploying a lean sales force that can sell everything from 30-year, fixed-rate home loans to mutual funds and annuities. The new fee income, as well as a reduction in fixed costs and nonperforming assets, are intended to produce higher profits.

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