Merrill Lynch & Co., America's biggest brokerage firm, is moving forcefully to entice some small businesses from their banks.

"Merrill Lynch serves my needs better than my bank was doing," said Richard Schuster, owner of the Schuster Flexible Packaging Co., a Commerce, Calif., firm with $10 million of sales. "The are a little freer lending me money and their loan rates are the same as I would get from a bank."

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