A year has passed since the teetering Wachovia Corp. called off an expected merger deal with Citigroup and opted instead to accept an offer from Wells Fargo. The broad events leading up to – and through – those decisive moments are well know to many in the industry, but the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of those fateful days remains mostly untold.

The story that follows reveals much about the interactions between executives and policymakers in those chaotic days. It is the product of a six-month investigative project undertaken by author Jeff Horwitz as part of his fellowship at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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