SAN FRANCISCO — For banks trying to serve more low-income customers, Regions Financial (RF) could become both a shining example and a cautionary tale.

The Birmingham, Ala., bank has spent the past year trying to attract the poor, the young, immigrants and other types of customers whom most banks have long ignored. It has rolled out check-cashing services, prepaid cards and payday loans, and it is expanding those services; last week, a senior executive announced plans to offer prepaid cardholders savings accounts with matching fund contributions and check-imaging technology for faster deposits.

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