Almost 600 people paid a quick visit this week to a future in which most consumers carry smart cards, do most of their banking and shopping on the Internet, and rest assured that their financial institutions have taken all necessary steps to ensure payment security and personal privacy.

By now the bankers among the 600 have returned to a reality in which most chief executive officers don't know much about personal computers, pay more attention to commercial loan spreads and credit card profitability than to information technology, and still need convincing to pour a lot of investment capital into creating the aforementioned future.

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