Banking's major retail problem can be summarized in the following statement of Jonathan Palmer, a former top executive at Barnett Banks. Says Mr. Palmer: "We found, 30 years ago, that the average number of products purchased by each customer was two ... today, the average number ... would probably range between two and three. So 30 years later, we haven't quite figured it out."

In other words, although banks serve nearly everyone, they continue to serve most in a rather superficial manner. The situation, however, is untenable. If the industry can't improve its share of customer wallet, it will not sustain today's lofty level of stock values.

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