We're having trouble scrounging up the money for our marketing programs," is the refrain we often get from the CRA people at many of our bank clients.

The problem is that the CRA function has traditionally been financed as a compliance issue and/or social cause, not as an opportunity to develop new and profitable business. Quite often what that means is that the largest slices of the marketing dollar loaf go to the other mainstream areas of business, and CRA gets something akin to the crumbs. What and who is responsible for this imbalance? How about starting with the bank's chief executive.

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