WASHINGTON - In a move that could propel the debate over deposit insurance reform, Citigroup Inc.'s Salomon Smith Barney unit plans to launch a program next month that will offer as much as $600,000 of federal coverage to the unit's customers.

The move alarmed officials at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., who said rapid deposit growth caused by this kind of program would expose the bank and thrift insurance funds to a higher risk of loss without increasing reserves.

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