Where do banks go after enveloping every likely appendage and shrinking expenditures and overhead to the max? After concentrating inward on mergers, investing in data warehouses, and suffering significant credit losses, banks are circling back to the perennial essential: revenue. In the end, as one prominent industry observer, points out, if banks have no revenue, they have no business.

Where will the revenue come from? Clues abound from Wall Street. Analyst-gurus proclaim that the future of banking is marketing. Just look at how Wall Street runs its own business. The message behind the proposed merger of Dean Witter, Discover and Morgan Stanley is clear: the individual consumer is king.

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