As the nation watches the twists and turns of the global financial crisis, it is easy to grow nostalgic about what banking was like 30 or 40 years ago, when it was strictly a local affair.

But let's not romanticize those days too much. Consumers — especially underbanked ones — need highly functioning financial markets, both around the globe and in their own communities. Reaching harder-to-serve consumers requires combining local market knowledge and a personal touch with global innovation, technology, and scale.

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