Virtual reality is an electronic replacement for tangible material or actual events. It supplants a real environment of spreadsheets and meetings with electronic simulations of them.

The implications are staggering. VR could be a replacement for lots of the brick and mortar costs that banks have been incurring for years, ranging from somebody coming into a branch to open up a new account to providing investment advice or portfolio information, said Barry Elkin, a Chase Manhattan Bank vice president for product development who builds client information workstation products.

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