Merrill Lynch: The secret of Salt Lake City

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Once branded the internet dullard, Merrill Lynch is on the offensive. More than a decade after the brokerage firm bought a bank in Utah, it’s launching a nationwide retail banking operation, based on the internet, and paying money-market rates on insured deposits. That, and its plans for a banking and investment-services joint-venture with HSBC, may take its head off the merger block.