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The Financial Modernization Act: evolution or revolution?


  • Timothy J. Yeager
  • Fred C. Yeager
  • Ellen Harshman


The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) removed the barriers that separated commercial banking from investment banking, merchant banking, and insurance activities. Did this legislation revolutionize the financial services industry by allowing Financial Holding Companies (FHCs) to exploit revenue efficiencies and cost economies, or did it merely formalize an evolutionary process of deregulation that was already well underway? Our evidence refutes the notion that the GLBA was a revolutionary event, at least in the short run. Using a combination of market and accounting data, we find that, to date, FHC status has had little effect on bank performance. We do find, however, limited evidence that FHCs that were Section 20 affiliates before passage of the GLBA were able to further exploit the synergies between investment banking and commercial banking.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy J. Yeager & Fred C. Yeager & Ellen Harshman, 2004. "The Financial Modernization Act: evolution or revolution?," Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers 2004-05, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlsp:2004-05

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cyree, Ken B., 2000. "The erosion of the Glass-Steagall Act:: Winners and losers in the banking industry," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 343-363.
    2. George Kanatas & Jianping Qi, 2003. "Integration of Lending and Underwriting: Implications of Scope Economies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(3), pages 1167-1191, June.
    3. Marcia Millon Cornett & Evren Ors & Hassan Tehranian, 2002. "Bank Performance around the Introduction of a Section 20 Subsidiary," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 501-521, February.
    4. Abdullah Mamun & M. Hassan & Son Lai, 2004. "The impact of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley act on the financial services industry," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 28(3), pages 333-347, September.
    5. Ang, James S. & Richardson, Terry, 1994. "The underwriting experience of commercial bank affiliates prior to the Glass-Steagall Act: A reexamination of evidence for passage of the act," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 351-395, January.
    6. 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.
    7. Kane, Edward J, 1996. "De Jure Interstate Banking: Why Only Now?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(2), pages 141-161, May.
    8. Benston, George J, 1972. "Discussion of the Hunt Commission Report," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 4(4), pages 985-989, November.
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    Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act ; Banking law - United States ; Bank holding companies;

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