In one of the more startling public statements by a banker in 1996, Citicorp chairman John Reed said it would take two generations - 50 to 70 years - for on-line electronic banking to gain full public acceptance.

Taken out of context, his remarks to a Treasury Department conference on electronic money sounded like an invitation to complacency, or a dose of disinformation from one of the world's more aggressive purveyors of electronic financial services. But Mr. Reed chose his words carefully, citing a lesson learned from his 30-plus years at Citicorp: Banking markets, and society generally, take time to change.

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