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How do banks create money, and why can other firms not do the same? An explanation for the coexistence of lending and deposit-taking

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  • Werner, Richard A.

Abstract

Thanks to the recent banking crises interest has grown in banks and how they operate. In the past, the empirical and institutional market micro-structure of the operation of banks had not been a primary focus for investigations by researchers, which is why they are not well covered in the literature. One neglected detail is the banks' function as the creators and allocators of about 97% of the money supply (Werner, 1997, 2005), which has recently attracted attention (Bank of England, 2014a,b; Werner, 2014b,c). It is the purpose of this paper to investigate precisely how banks create money, and why or whether companies cannot do the same. Since the implementation of banking operations takes place within a corporate accounting framework, this paper is based upon a comparative accounting analysis perspective. By breaking the accounting treatment of lending into two steps, the difference in the accounting operation by bank and non-bank corporations can be isolated. As a result, it can be established precisely why banks are different and what it is that makes them different: They are exempted from the Client Money Rules and thus, unlike other firms, do not have to segregate client money. This enables banks to classify their accounts payable liabilities arising from bank loan contracts as a different type of liability called ‘customer deposits’. The finding is important for many reasons, including for modelling the banking sector accurately in economic models, bank regulation and also for monetary reform proposals that aim at taking away the privilege of money creation from banks. The paper thus adds to the growing literature on the institutional details and market micro-structure of our financial and monetary system, and in particular offers a new contribution to the literature on ‘what makes banks different’, from an accounting and regulatory perspective, solving the puzzle of why banks combine lending and deposit-taking operations under one roof.

Suggested Citation

  • Werner, Richard A., 2014. "How do banks create money, and why can other firms not do the same? An explanation for the coexistence of lending and deposit-taking," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 71-77.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:finana:v:36:y:2014:i:c:p:71-77
    DOI: 10.1016/j.irfa.2014.10.013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Werner, Richard A., 2012. "Towards a new research programme on ‘banking and the economy’ — Implications of the Quantity Theory of Credit for the prevention and resolution of banking and debt crises," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 1-17.
    2. Werner, Richard A., 2014. "Can banks individually create money out of nothing? — The theories and the empirical evidence," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 1-19.
    3. James Tobin, 1963. "Commercial Banks as Creators of 'Money'," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 159, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Anil K. Kashyap & Raghuram Rajan & Jeremy C. Stein, 2002. "Banks as Liquidity Providers: An Explanation for the Coexistence of Lending and Deposit-Taking," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 33-73, February.
    5. Werner, Richard A., 2014. "Enhanced Debt Management: Solving the eurozone crisis by linking debt management with fiscal and monetary policy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(PB), pages 443-469.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bank accounting; Bank lending; Client money rules; Credit creation; Loans; Monetary reform;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B00 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - General - - - History of Economic Thought, Methodology, and Heterodox Approaches
    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting

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