There is a vision of banking for the twenty-first century shared by the regulators, the banking trade associations, many banking professors and most of the officers in the big bank holding companies.

It is, to begin with, a vision of nationwide or nearly nationwide institutions, certainly no more than twenty of them, with electronic links to their corporate customers, to the markets and other financial service institutions, to each other and to smaller banks, and to many if not most of their individual customers. Those who do not have telephone or computer links to the bank will do most of their business with plastic, while an ever-shrinking cadre of older depositors will still write checks. Customers will pay fees for services, including standardized stock brokerage and insurance agency, and the money left on account, a steadily diminishing fraction of the country's financial assets, will be invested in a variety of securities, including packages of loans.

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