A soon-to-be-published report for an influential trade group urges bankers to make significant investments in payment systems to prevent a further loss of business to nonbanks.

The study describes a trap that commercial banks have fallen into, in consumer and corporate services alike: They have fortified their positions in commodity-type transaction businesses that yield meager returns on investment, while nonbank competitors moved into more profitable value-added services, often by "piggybacking" at little expense on the banks' payments infrastructure.

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