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Are universal banks bad for financial stability? Germany during the world financial crisis

  • Dietrich, Diemo
  • Vollmer, Uwe

This case study explores the contribution of universal banking to financial stability in Germany during the recent financial crisis. Germany is a prototype for universal banking and has suffered from a rather small number of banking crises in the past. We review the banking literature and analyze the major institutional and regulatory features of the German financial system to establish a nexus between universal banking and stability. We focus on the following questions. First, which banks failed and did they because they were universal or because of other reasons? Second, which types of distress beside outright bank failures resulted from the crisis and how did German universal banks dealt with them? We show that only few German banks failed and these banks did so not because they were universal banks but because they were publicly owned. Most banks instead contributed to reduce the impact of the recent crisis.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance.

Volume (Year): 52 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 123-134

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Handle: RePEc:eee:quaeco:v:52:y:2012:i:2:p:123-134
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620167

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  1. Diemo Dietrich & Uwe Vollmer, 2006. "Banks’ Internationalization Strategies: The Role of Bank Capital Regulation," IWH Discussion Papers 18, Halle Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Reint Gropp & Hendrik Hakenes & Isabel Schnabel, 2011. "Competition, Risk-shifting, and Public Bail-out Policies," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(6), pages 2084-2120.
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  8. Jeremy C. Stein, 1995. "Internal Capital Markets and the Competition for Corporate Resources," NBER Working Papers 5101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ferreira, Miguel A. & Matos, Pedro, 2009. "Universal banks and corporate control: evidence from the global syndicated loan market," Working Paper Series 1066, European Central Bank.
  10. Kroszner, Randall S. & Rajan, Raghuram G., 1997. "Organization structure and credibility: Evidence from commercial bank securities activities before the Glass-Steagall Act," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 475-516, August.
  11. Boot, Arnoud W. A. & Schmeits, Anjolein, 2000. "Market Discipline and Incentive Problems in Conglomerate Firms with Applications to Banking," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 240-273, July.
  12. Falko Fecht, 2004. "On the Stability of Different Financial Systems," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(6), pages 969-1014, December.
  13. Xavier Freixas & Gyongyi Loranth & Alan D. Morrison & Hyun Song Shin, 2004. "Regulating Financial Conglomerates," Working Paper Research 54, National Bank of Belgium.
  14. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-76, June.
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  17. White, Eugene Nelson, 1986. "Before the Glass-Steagall Act: An analysis of the investment banking activities of national banks," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 33-55, January.
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  19. Bordo, Michael D. & Rockoff, Hugh & Redish, Angela, 1996. "A comparison of the stability and efficiency of the Canadian and American banking systems, 1870–1925," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 49-68, April.
  20. Ulrich Blum & Diemo Dietrich, 2010. "Bankenabgabe: Richtig oder gar nicht!," Wirtschaft im Wandel, Halle Institute for Economic Research, vol. 16(5), pages 234-237.
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  24. Diemo Dietrich & Achim Hauck, 2012. "Government interventions in banking crises: effects of alternative schemes on bank lending and risk taking," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 59(2), pages 133-161, 05.
  25. Kroszner, Randall S & Rajan, Raghuram G, 1994. "Is the Glass-Steagall Act Justified? A Study of the U.S. Experience with Universal Banking before 1933," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 810-32, September.
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  29. Ralf Bebenroth & Diemo Dietrich & Uwe Vollmer, 2007. "Bank regulation and supervision in Japan and Germany: A comparison," Discussion Paper Series 211, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
  30. George J. Benston, 1994. "Universal Banking," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 121-143, Summer.
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