To the casual observer, Wachovia and Banc One have two key elements in common: They are both regional banks, and both have enviable performance records.

Wachovia Corp. of Winston-Salem, N.C., enjoys one of the lowest loss experiences in the industry and has consistently been one of the highest and most stable earners. Banc One, based in Columbus, Ohio, has grown its earnings at 15% per year since 1985 and has increased earnings per share consistently for 23 years.

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