Last year, at a planning meeting of the American Bankers Association, a banker who runs one of the largest retail banks in the country said to me, "Why are we having this meeting? Banks will be irrelevant in the future."

When I suggested that there must be some reason for his bank, as well as others, to pay very hefty prices to acquire other banks, he responded, "Well, I think in the interim period, there is some money to be made in the industry."

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