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The Decline of Traditional Banking: Implications for Financial Stabilityand Regulatory Policy


  • Franklin R. Edwards
  • Frederic S. Mishkin


This paper outlines the fundamental economic forces that have led to the decline in traditional banking, that is the process of making loans and funding them by issuing short-dated deposits. The declining competitiveness of traditional banking may threaten financial stability by increasing bank failures and by increasing the incentives for banks to take on more risk, either by making more risky loans or by engaging in 'nontraditional' financial activities that promise higher returns but greater risk. This paper argues that most nontraditional activities, such as banks acting as derivatives dealers, expose banks to risks and moral hazard problems that are similar to those associated with banks' traditional activities, and that these activities can be regulated as effectively as can traditional activities. One regulatory approach to maintain financial stability and strengthen the banking system is to adopt a system of structured bank capital requirements with early corrective action by regulators. An important element in this approach is that market- value accounting principles would be applied to banks and there would be increased public disclosure by banks of the risks associated with their trading activities. With this regulatory structure in place, banks could be permitted greater freedom to expand into nontraditional activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Franklin R. Edwards & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1995. "The Decline of Traditional Banking: Implications for Financial Stabilityand Regulatory Policy," NBER Working Papers 4993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4993
    Note: ME

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gorton, Gary & Rosen, Richard, 1995. "Corporate Control, Portfolio Choice, and the Decline of Banking," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1377-1420, December.
    2. George J. Benston & George G. Kaufman, 1988. "Risk and solvency regulation of depository institutions: past policies and current options," Staff Memoranda 88-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    3. Franklin R. Edwards, 1993. "Financial markets in transition - or the decline of commercial banking," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 5-69.
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    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets


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