Miami Beach -- NCR Corp. chairman, Lars Nyberg warned Thursday that much-discussed but long-delayed competitive threats to bank market shares are finally about to assert themselves.

Speaking to the Bank Administration Institute's Retail Delivery Conference, Mr. Nyberg said non-banks such as supermarkets, securities firms, and consumer technology companies did not meet earlier expectations for reasons of customer inertia and the banking industry's trustworthy reputation.

Mr. Nyberg told an audience of more than 4,000 that the recent experience could cause "a false sense of security."

"Consumers to a greater or lesser degree are conservative with their money and trust banks," he said. "In all walks of life it is difficult to unseat the incumbent." But that factor becomes less important in a world that is wired by the Internet and conducive to emergence of non-traditional forms of competition.

It happened when Dell Computer Corp. used innovative pricing and distribution to challenge long-time leaders in personal computers. Mr. Nyberg said it also happened in on-line brokerage to the point where Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, though currently transforming themselves for Internet business, may not be able to catch up to Charles Schwab and E-Trade.

Mr. Nyberg told the bankers that the future belongs to those who master RT - relationship technology - because their past emphasis on generic information technology has not delivered on the promise of customer knowledge management.

Stephen Emmott, director of the NCR Knowledge Lab, a research and development unit in London, told the conference that the concept of CRM -- customer relationship management -- should give way to CMR, or customer-managed relationships. He said the goal should be, "lifestyle engineering," or helping people to achieve certain life goals, which "banks are not good at."

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