Consolidation and increasing competition-some say hyper-competition-in the banking industry expose an absence of product differentiation. No one can tell the difference between one bank's products and another's.

Among the few points of differentiation banks have left are their existing customer bases. Banks should explore how to maximize the value of their customer relationships. This is best achieved by effectively managing customers across their life-cycle to maximize retention, stimulating more transactions and revolving balances, cross-selling more bank products, and minimizing risk in the process.

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