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Wal-Mart And Banks: Should The Twain Meet? A Principles-Based Approach To The Issues Of The Separation Of Banking And Commerce

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  • LAWRENCE J. WHITE

Abstract

"The application in July 2005 by Wal-Mart to obtain a specialized bank charter from the state of Utah and to obtain federal deposit insurance reopened a national debate concerning the separation of banking and commerce. Though Wal-Mart withdrew its application in March 2007, the issue and the debate continue. This article offers a principles-based approach to this issue that begins with the recognition that banks are special and that safety and soundness regulation of banks is therefore warranted. Building on that recognition, the article lays out the principle that the "examinability and supervisability" of an activity should determine if that activity should be undertaken by a bank. Even if an otherwise legitimate activity is not suitable for a bank, it should be allowed for a bank's owners (whether the owners are individuals or a holding company), so long as the financial transactions between the bank and its owners are closely monitored by bank regulators. The implications of this set of ideas for the Wal-Mart case and for banking and commerce generally are then discussed". ("JEL" G21, G28) Copyright (c) 2009 Western Economic Association International.

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence J. White, 2009. "Wal-Mart And Banks: Should The Twain Meet? A Principles-Based Approach To The Issues Of The Separation Of Banking And Commerce," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(4), pages 440-449, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:27:y:2009:i:4:p:440-449
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Yehning Chen, 1999. "Banking Panics: The Role of the First-Come, First-Served Rule and Information Externalities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 946-968, October.
    2. Postlewaite, Andrew & Vives, Xavier, 1987. "Bank Runs as an Equilibrium Phenomenon," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 485-491, June.
    3. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
    4. Lawrence J. White, 1993. "The Community Reinvestment Act: Good Intentions Headed in the Wrong Direction," Working Papers 93-01, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    5. Allen N. Berger & Seth D. Bonime & Lawrence G. Goldberg & Lawrence J. White, 2004. "The Dynamics of Market Entry: The Effects of Mergers and Acquisitions on Entry in the Banking Industry," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(4), pages 797-834, October.
    6. Shull, Bernard, 1994. "Banking and commerce in the United States," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 255-270, January.
    7. Donald P. Morgan, 2002. "Rating Banks: Risk and Uncertainty in an Opaque Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 874-888, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lawrence J. White, 2011. "Preventing Bubbles: What Role for Financial Regulation?," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 31(3), pages 603-619, Fall.
    2. Lawrence J. White, 2011. "Corporate Governance and Prudential Regulation of Banks: Is There Any Connection?," Working Papers 11-03, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    3. Lawrence J. White., 2014. "Antitrust and the Financial Sector - with Special Attention to "Too Big to Fail"," Working Papers 14-10, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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