If you're worried about the future of your core banking businesses, you're not alone. Bank chief executive officers across the country have told me the same thing. They're concerned about underlying growth and real rates of return - and rightly so.

They've told me that what frightens them is their core earnings growth and performance. The market expects them to achieve a sustainable 17% after-tax return on equity and 5% to 6% earnings growth. Given that 1993 was a year of record profitability for banks, you might wonder if there really is a problem.

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