Bankers at J.P. Morgan & Co. are syndicating a $2.25 billion loan for Meditrust Corp. that Salomon Smith Barney Inc. failed to execute last week.

The decision by Meditrust to abandon Salomon as lead arranger is a damaging blow to the investment bank, which is battling a reputation as an inexperienced lending upstart. Though Salomon bankers declined to comment, an insider acknowledged the Meditrust deal has become a high-profile embarrassment.

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