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Branch banking, bank competition, and financial stability

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  • Mark A. Carlson
  • Kris James Mitchener

Abstract

It is often argued that branching stabilizes banking systems by facilitating diversification of bank portfolios; however, previous empirical research on the Great Depression offers mixed support for this view. Analyses using state-level data find that states allowing branch banking had lower failure rates, while those examining individual banks find that branch banks were more likely to fail. We argue that an alternative hypothesis can reconcile these seemingly disparate findings. Using data on national banks from the 1920s and 1930s, we show that branch banking increases competition and forces weak banks to exit the banking system. This consolidation strengthens the system as a whole without necessarily strengthening the branch banks themselves. Our empirical results suggest that the effects that branching had on competition were quantitatively more important than geographical diversification for bank stability in the 1920s and 1930s.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark A. Carlson & Kris James Mitchener, 2005. "Branch banking, bank competition, and financial stability," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-20, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2005-20
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Raghuram G. Rajan & Rodney Ramcharan, 2011. "Land and Credit: A Study of the Political Economy of Banking in the United States in the Early 20th Century," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(6), pages 1895-1931, December.
    2. Rungporn Roengpitya, 2008. "The Effects of Financial Deregulation on Bank Governance: The Panel Data Evidence of the 1990s," Working Papers 2008-08, Monetary Policy Group, Bank of Thailand.
    3. Goetz, Martin, 2016. "Competition and bank stability," CFS Working Paper Series 559, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    4. Mitchener, Kris James & Wheelock, David C., 2013. "Does the structure of banking markets affect economic growth? Evidence from U.S. state banking markets," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 161-178.
    5. Chu, Kam Hon, 2010. "Bank mergers, branch networks and economic growth: Theory and evidence from Canada, 1889-1926," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 265-283, March.
    6. Chu, Kam Hon, 2015. "Bank consolidation and stability: The Canadian experience, 1867–1935," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 46-60.
    7. Iulia Iuga, 2013. "Analysis Of The Banking System‘S Concentration Degree In Eu Countries," Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Faculty of Sciences, "1 Decembrie 1918" University, Alba Iulia, vol. 1(15), pages 1-16.
    8. Jaremski, Matthew & Wheelock, David C., 2015. "Banker Preferences, Interbank Connections, and the Enduring Structure of the Federal Reserve System," Working Papers 2015-11, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 16 Aug 2016.
    9. Colvin, Christopher L., 2017. "Banking on a Religious Divide: Accounting for the Success of the Netherlands' Raiffeisen Cooperatives in the Crisis of the 1920s," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 77(03), pages 866-919, September.
    10. Demyanyk, Yuliya, 2008. "U.S. banking deregulation and self-employment: A differential impact on those in need," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 165-178.
    11. Colvin, Christopher L., 2015. "The past, present and future of banking history," QUCEH Working Paper Series 15-05, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    12. Martin Goetz, 2011. "Bank Organization, Market Structure and Risk Taking: Theory and Evidence from U.S. Commercial Banks," NFI Working Papers 2011-WP-11, Indiana State University, Scott College of Business, Networks Financial Institute.
    13. Raghuram G. Rajan & Rodney Ramcharan, 2008. "Landed Interests and Financial Underdevelopment in the United States," NBER Working Papers 14347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. John H. Boyd & Gianni De Nicolo & Abu M. Jalal, 2009. "Bank Competition, Risk, and Asset Allocations," IMF Working Papers 09/143, International Monetary Fund.
    15. José Manuel Pastor & José Manuel Pavía & Lorenzo Serrano & Emili Tortosa-Ausina, 2016. "Rich regions, poor regions and bank branch deregulation in Spain," Working Papers 2016/02, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
    16. Natalya Martynova & Lev Ratnovski & Razvan Vlahu, 2015. "Bank Profitability and Risk-Taking," IMF Working Papers 15/249, International Monetary Fund.
    17. Tetsuji Okazaki & Michiru Sawada, 2006. ""Effects of a bank consolidation promotion policy: Evaluating Bank Law in 1927 Japan" ;forthcoming in Financial History Review (Published in "Financial History Review", April 2007,," CARF F-Series CARF-F-058, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
    18. Postel-Vinay, Natacha, 2011. "From a “normal recession” to the “Great Depression”: finding the turning point in Chicago bank portfolios, 1923-1933," Economic History Working Papers 35518, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    19. repec:eee:riibaf:v:41:y:2017:i:c:p:260-279 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Branch banks ; Competition;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • N22 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

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