IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Regulation and Supervision of Bank Holding Companies: A Historical Perspective

Listed author(s):
  • Ronnie J. Phillips

Scholars have generally concluded that the assigning of the BHC responsibilities to the Fed in 1956 was primarily based on the historical precedent of the Clayton Act and the Banking Act of 1933 which granted some powers to the Federal Reserve with respect to bank holding companies. This explanation is not sufficient because bank holding company bills had been introduced since 1930 and it is only after 1943 that the Federal Reserve is designated as the regulatory agency for BHCs. Why was there a change? There are three factors which together explain why the Federal Reserve was selected as the regulatory agency. The first, and probably most important, was in the legislative response to the public outcry over the abuses of bank affiliates. The bank affiliates and holding company issues were intertwined, and the outcome of the Banking Act of 1933 had important implications for the future regulation of BHCs. If the separation of commercial and investment banking had not occurred, the OCC would quite likely have been the regulatory agency for BHCs. It was recognized that a system of universal banking (national banks with addiliates) required a single regulator. Second, legislation proposed by Marriner Eccles and the Federal Reserve in 1943 to control BHCs specified the Federal Reserve as the regulatory agency, despite the fact that at the time there was little rationale for this. However, the bill introduced in 1943 became the BHCA of 1956. Third, the Comptroller of the Currency in 1956, Ray Gidney, believed that BHCs promoted efficiency in banking and needed little regulation. Those members of Congress who believed that BHCs should be tightly controlled, or abolished, had little incentive to entrust the regulation and supervision of BHCs to Gidney. If the comptroller of the Currency at the time had been a strong opponent of the expansion of BHCs, then there might have been reason to change the legislation. A reexamination of the reasons for granting regulatory power ove

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_116.

in new window

Date of creation: May 1994
Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_116
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Mark D. Flood, 1992. "The great deposit insurance debate," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 51-77.
  2. Kenneth Spong, 2000. "Banking regulation : its purposes, implementation, and effects," Monograph, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, number 2000bria.
  3. Tyler Cowen & Randall Kroszner, 1990. "Mutual Fund Banking: A Market Approach," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 10(1), pages 223-237, Spring/Su.
  4. Anna J. Schwartz, 1992. "The misuse of the Fed's discount window," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 58-69.
  5. Steindl, Frank G., 1991. "The monetary economics of Lauchlin Currie," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 445-461, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_116. 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: (Marie-Celeste Edwards)

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.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.