The great virtue of the financial markets is that sooner or later they force us to face our mistakes. When the glow of the 1990s fades, the mistake far too many bankers will confront is their failure to insist on managerial accountability.

Winning banks must simultaneously invest in technology, trim cost structures that aren't competitive with nonbanks', improve margins for increasingly commoditized products, and speed delivery of what the customer wants. All without forgetting that banking remains what it has always been- a risk business. On more fronts than ever, the commercial bank must be nimble.

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