Many prognosticators believe that all a bank must do is introduce an aggressive entry on the Internet and the holy grail of banking in the future will be theirs for the taking. However, our experience with many of the world's leading financial services organizations indicates a more sobering reality.

While consumer migration to a more electronic world of banking is a likely eventuality, there is uncertainty on how long it will take - and on which attributes will make the journey as smooth as possible. The key to a successful transition might lie in how successful a bank is today, and how much capital-both financial and psychological-it has invested in the current paradigm. Ironically, the more successful a retail bank is today, the more difficult it might be for it to dominate virtualized banking ten years from now.

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