Two midwestern regional banks are courting people with as little as $100,000 to invest by offering service that resembles what’s available in private banking programs — and bucking the conventional wisdom that $1 million to invest is the profitability threshold for these services.

Harris Bank in Chicago and FirstMerit Bank in Akron, Ohio, are in a minority offering private-client-type advice and services to people with as little as $100,000 to $250,000 to invest. Many other bankers and analysts call this approach problematical, insisting that much bigger accounts are needed to make money at that level of service. And a company like SunTrust in Atlanta has devised a mutual fund wrap program to enhance service to less wealthy investors in a less costly way.

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