Some time between 2013 and 2015, Zions Bancorp. expects to be earning around $500 million a year. Last quarter it lost $184 million.

Explaining how the company arrives at this future profit, as its management sought to do at its biennial investor day on Thursday, took some doing. Weathering persistent credit losses, maintaining robust demand deposit growth, and permanently reducing its exposure to commercial real estate are all part of the Zions plan. A big capital raise probably isn't.

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