With the help of acquisitions and a red-hot economy, many major banks have posted excellent growth and earnings over several years. Behind these numbers are statistics and anecdotal evidence that suggest a more disturbing trend: North America's biggest banks are being outsold.

In most consumer and business-to-business product categories, and particularly among high-value clients, the largest banks are losing market share to nonbank competitors and even to smaller banks. According to recent consumer surveys, purchases of investments and insurance from banks and customer loyalty among high-value clients are declining.

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