Implicit in Citigroup Inc.'s attempt to acquire Wachovia Corp. was an acknowledgement of something many on Wall Street had long said: Citi's relatively undersized U.S. deposit business was a shortcoming that needed to be addressed.

Now that Citi has ceded Wachovia to Wells Fargo & Co.'s rival bid, the deposit question remains open, and one that is front and center for many who wonder what comes next for the New York company.

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