Bankers who argue that the greatest potential for increased customer profitability can be found among the private banking wannabes haven't taken a close enough look at their customer base. If they did, they'd see a wealth of opportunityoand social responsibilityoin the lower income lending market.

It's not that bankers ignore this market segment; they just haven't used the right management approach and profitability analysis tools to fully realize its potential, says Ned Brown, president and managing partner of New York-Based Financial Modeling Concepts (FMC). "Most banks assume that people living in lower income areas aren't profitable. There are enough studies that have been done to show the exact opposite. Customers in this (segment) tend not to contest fees, where as middle-class (customers) might come down and argue about them."

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