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European Banks and the American Challenge: Competition and Cooperation in International Banking Under Bretton Woods


  • Battilossi, Stefano
    (Universidad Carlos III, Madrid; London School of Economics)

  • Cassis, Youssef
    (University of Grenoble II; London School of Economics)


The book provides a fresh historical perspective on the internationalization of banking business and the emergence of the Euro-Dollar and Euro-Bond markets from the late 1950s to the early 1970s -- a process which laid the foundations of the subsequent financial globalization. Since the mid-1950s, multilateralism and rapidly growing trade among OECD countries, the gradual (though asymmetrical) relaxation of exchange controls, and the return to external convertibility had sowed the seeds of economic interdependence and financial integration. All these factors actively encouraged American and European banks to pursue the expansion of their international business, largely free of regulations and controls affecting their domestic activity. International banking of the 1960s was also the forge of a restless wave of financial innovations. In fact Euro-Dollars (along with other minor Euro-Currencies) and Euro-Bonds fostered the emergence of fast-growing international money and capital markets, mainly based in the City of London, which rapidly became the new frontier of growth for banking business. Aggressive behaviour of American banks in Europe, coupled with an efficient multinational structure and a remarkable degree of financial creativity, added a sharp competitive edge to Euro-banking. Following their multinational customers as much as escaping from cumbersome domestic regulation, US banks rapidly attained a dominant position in London, while establishing at the same time their footholds on the Continent. This volume is based primarily upon largely unexplored archive records and addreses original issues. The causes of the primacy of London as an international financial centre are investigated, as well as the impact of Euro-banking on British clearing banks as a boost towards liability management and business diversification. Some wider perspectives are also included, which focus on innovative strategies designed by European banks -- such as consortium banking and other cooperative ventures -- in response both to the American challenge and to the establishment of the European Community. Contributors to this volume - Stefano Battilossi (Universidad Carlos III, Madrid; London School of Economics) Eric Bussiere (University of Paris IV) Youssef Cassis (University of Grenoble II; London School of Economics) Harold James (Princeton University) Ulrich Ramm (Chief Economist and Executive Vice-President, Commerzbank AG, Frankfurt am Main) Duncan M. Ross (University of Glasgow) Catherine R. Schenk (University of Glasgow) Richard Sylla (Stern School of Business, New York University)

Suggested Citation

  • Battilossi, Stefano & Cassis, Youssef (ed.), 2002. "European Banks and the American Challenge: Competition and Cooperation in International Banking Under Bretton Woods," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199250271.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780199250271

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    Cited by:

    1. Kocenda, Evzen & Hanousek, Jan & Engelmann, Dirk, 2008. "Currencies, competition, and clans," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1115-1132.
    2. Piet Clement & Ivo Maes, 2013. "The BIS and the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s," Working Paper Research 247, National Bank of Belgium.
    3. Mitchell Larson & Gerhard Schnyder & Gerarda Westerhuis & John Wilson, 2011. "Strategic responses to global challenges: The case of European banking, 1973-2000," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(1), pages 40-62.

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