No banker would intentionally besmirch his customers. But even unquestionably dedicated retail bankers might do well to listen closely to their brethren in trust and private banking departments. They sound a bit more, well, respectful of their customers.

We discovered during a survey - albeit unscientific and anecdotal - that retail bank executives refer to their customers as objects. In the upscale business groups, meanwhile, customers were spoken of more as people.

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