Keeping the customer in focus isn't easy. Everybody wants a share of a juicy account, and customers aren't always well served in the rush to carve up their business. The task for managers is to seek out ways to better align their organizations and satisfy customers' needs while effectively controlling costs.

Banks are not blessed with an arsenal of exclusive products, so they must seek innovations where they can. Look, for instance, at the opportunities that come with the personal computer revolution. Cheaper and better technology is driving the electronic interface down market from the very large companies into the middle market. Eventually, it will reach into the small-business area, too.

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