One of the most likely but least obvious reasons for Bank of the West’s surprise move into the mass-affluent market is summed up in two words: Generation X.

Generation X and the younger Generation Y—unlike Baby Boomers—see banks as places where they want to both do their banking and manage their investments provided the banks have good online brokerage platforms and tools, said Sophie Schmitt, a senior analyst with independent research firm Aite Group, in a telephone interview.

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