IDEAS home Printed from,1.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Bank regulation: asking the right questions


  • Thomas M. Hoenig


If we are to modernize our regulatory system and allow banks the flexibility to adapt to financial change, it is essential that we ask the right questions about the purposes of bank regulation. Currently, much of the regulatory debate focuses on the age-old question: Where do we draw the line between banks and other financial and nonfinancial institutions? As important as this question is, however, it begs a more fundamental question: Why do we regulate banks differently than other institutions? Unless we can answer this basic question, it is possible that we may never achieve consensus on fundamental reform and will continue to rely on an incremental, reactive approach to bank regulation.> In an article based on comments made at the 1996 Federal Reserve/Deloitte Touch Banking Symposium in Houston, Mr. Hoenig suggests that we need to look beyond traditional arguments for bank regulation that focus on protection of bank depositors and the federal safety net. In his view, a compelling reason for bank regulation is to maintain the integrity of the payments system. Focusing on the payments system provides us with insight into two aspects of the current debate over bank regulation. First, the payments system gives us a clear rationale for drawing lines between banks and other financial institutions. Second, focusing on the payments system may provide new ideas on how we should regulate banks as we move into the next century.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas M. Hoenig, 1997. "Bank regulation: asking the right questions," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q I, pages 5-10.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:1997:i:qi:p:5-10:n:v.82no,1

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anderson, John C. & Schroeder, Roger G., 1984. "Getting results from your MRP system," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 57-64.
    2. David, Paul A, 1990. "The Dynamo and the Computer: An Historical Perspective on the Modern Productivity Paradox," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 355-361, May.
    3. Scott E. Knudson & Jack K. Walton & Florence M. Young, 1994. "Business-to-business payments and the role of financial electronic data interchange," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Apr, pages 269-278.
    4. David M. Cutler & Mark McClellan & Joseph P. Newhouse & Dahlia Remler, 1996. "Are Medical Prices Declining?," NBER Working Papers 5750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Baumol, W.J., 1992. "Private Affluence, Public Squalor," Working Papers 92-15, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Lee, B.C. & Longe-Akindemowo, O., 1998. "Regulatory Issues in Electronic Money: A Legal-Economics Analysis," Economics Working Papers wp98-02, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
    2. Mohamed A. Ramady, 2009. "Evolving banking regulation and supervision: A case study of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA)," International Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Finance and Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 2(3), pages 235-250, August.

    More about this item


    Bank supervision ; Banks and banking;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:1997:i:qi:p:5-10:n:v.82no,1. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (LDayrit). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.