It's been a rocky two years for Terry Larsen and the 18,000 surviving employees of CoreStates Financial Corp.

In September 1994, Mr. Larsen launched a reengineering program that cut employment by 20% and shuttered 10% of the branch network. Then came a highly controversial but ultimately aborted plan for the Philadelphia bank company to merge with Bank of Boston Corp. Capping the tumult, CoreStates agreed last October to buy Meridian Bancorp, its biggest purchase ever.

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