Early returns from Signet Banking Corp.'s use of information-based technology in its commercial bank suggest the company's loan growth this year could be stronger than many on Wall Street expect.

Dean Witter analyst Anthony R. Davis, who met with Signet executives last week in New York, said he now believes the Richmond-based bank can produce loan growth of between 23% and 25% this year, mostly on the retail side. That compares to only 4% growth in 1994, when the company allowed a runoff of unprofitable middle-market commercial loans.

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