WASHINGTON - The government is soon expected to decide a thorny question: Should a bank or thrift be allowed to belong to multiple Federal Home Loan banks?

Washington Mutual Bank FA, a Stockton, Calif., subsidiary of Washington Mutual Inc., has forced the issue by seeking to join the Dallas Home Loan Bank and retain its membership in the San Francisco Home Loan Bank. The Wamu unit wants to join the Dallas bank because it recently acquired Bank United, an $18 billion-asset thrift in Houston that was a member.

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