Profits are booming at most of the nation's banks, primarily from their consumer businesses, including stiff increases in fees. But some analysts argue that the proliferation of fees may chase away the banks' consumer clients.

"The real big potential for banks is to be able to use the existing customer base to raise profits by cross-selling," said Sean Ryan, an analyst at Bear, Stearns & Co. "That is at odds with the short-run practice of charging nuisance fees," said Mr. Ryan, who compared higher fees to "eating your seed corn."

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