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Modern U.S. Banking. History, and Reasons for Evolution of U.S. Banks. 1775-1791: U.S. Currency in the Beginning. To finance the American Revolution, the Continental Congress printed the new nation's first paper money.

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modern u s banking

Modern U.S. Banking

History, and Reasons for Evolution of U.S. Banks

1775 1791 u s currency in the beginning
1775-1791: U.S. Currency in the Beginning
  • To finance the American Revolution, the Continental Congress printed the new nation's first paper money.
  • Known as "continentals," the fiat currency notes were issued in such quantity they led to inflation, which, though mild at first, rapidly accelerated as the war progressed.
  • Eventually, people lost faith in the notes, and the phrase "Not worth a continental" came to mean "utterly worthless."
1791 1811 first attempt at central banking
1791-1811: First Attempt at Central Banking
  • At the urging of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, Congress established the First Bank of the United States, headquartered in Philadelphia, in 1791.
  • It was the largest corporation in the country and was dominated by big banking and money interests.
  • Many agrarian minded Americans, uncomfortable with the idea of a large and powerful central bank, opposed it. By 1811 when the bank's 20-year charter expired, Congress refused, by one vote, to renew it.
1816 1836 a second try fails
1816-1836: A Second Try Fails
  • By 1816 the political climate was once again inclined toward the idea of a central bank; by a narrow margin, Congress agreed to charter the Second Bank of the United States.
  • But when Andrew Jackson, a central bank foe, was elected president in 1828, he vowed to kill it. His attack on its banker-controlled power touched a popular nerve with Americans, and when the Second Bank's charter expired in 1836, it was not renewed.
1836 1865 the free banking era
1836-1865: The Free Banking Era
  • State-chartered banks and unchartered "free banks" took hold during this period, issuing their own notes, redeemable in gold or specie.
  • Banks also began offering demand deposits to enhance commerce.
  • In response to a rising volume of check transactions, the New York Clearinghouse Association was established in 1853 to provide a way for the city's banks to exchange checks and settle accounts.
1863 national banking act
1863: National Banking Act
  • During the Civil War the National Banking Act of 1863 was passed, providing for nationally chartered banks, whose circulating notes had to be backed by U.S. government securities.
  • An amendment to the act required taxation on state bank notes but not national bank notes, effectively creating a uniform currency for the nation.
  • Despite taxation on their notes, state banks continued to flourish due to the growing popularity of demand deposits, which had taken hold during the Free Banking Era.
1873 1907 financial panics prevail
1873-1907: Financial Panics Prevail
  • Although the National Banking Act of 1863 established some measure of currency stability for the growing nation, bank runs and financial panics continued to plague the economy.
  • In 1893 a banking panic triggered the worst depression the United States had ever seen, and the economy stabilized only after the intervention of financial mogul J.P. Morgan. It was clear that the nation's banking and financial system needed serious attention.
1907 a very bad year
1907: A Very Bad Year
  • In 1907 a bout of speculation on Wall Street ended in failure, triggering a particularly severe banking panic. J.P. Morgan was again called upon to avert disaster. By this time most Americans were calling for reform of the banking system, but the structure of that reform was cause for deep division among the country's citizens.
  • Conservatives and powerful "money trusts" in the big Eastern cities were vehemently opposed by "progressives." But there was a growing consensus among all Americans that a central banking authority was needed to ensure a healthy banking system and provide for an elastic currency.
1908 1912 the stage is set for decentralized central bank
1908-1912: The Stage is Set for Decentralized Central Bank
  • The Aldrich-Vreeland Act of 1908, passed as an immediate response to the panic of 1907, provided for emergency currency issues during crises. It also established the National Monetary Commission to search for a long-term solution to the nation's banking and financial problems.
  • Under the leadership of Sen. Nelson Aldrich, the commission developed a banker-controlled plan. William Jennings Bryan and other progressives fiercely attacked the plan; they wanted a central bank under public, not banker, control.
  • The 1912 election of Democrat Woodrow Wilson killed the Republican Aldrich plan, but the stage was set for the emergence of a decentralized central bank.
1912 woodrow wilson as financial reformer
1912: Woodrow Wilson as Financial Reformer
  • Though not personally knowledgeable about banking and financial issues, Woodrow Wilson solicited expert advice from Virginia Rep. Carter Glass, soon to become the chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Finance, and from the Committee's expert adviser, H. Parker Willis, formerly a professor of economics at Washington and Lee University.
  • Throughout most of 1912 Glass and Willis labored over a central bank proposal, and by December 1912 they presented Wilson with what would become, with some modifications, the Federal Reserve Act.
1913 the federal reserve system is born
1913: The Federal Reserve System is Born
  • From December 1912 to December 1913 the Glass-Willis proposal was hotly debated, molded and reshaped.
  • By December 23, 1913, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law, it stood as a classic example of compromise -- a decentralized central bank that balanced the competing interests of private banks and populist sentiment.
1914 open for business
1914: Open for Business
  • Before the new central bank could begin operations, the Reserve Bank Organizing Committee, comprised of Treasury Secretary William McAdoo, Secretary of Agriculture David Houston, and Comptroller of the Currency John Skelton Williams, had the arduous task of building a working institution around the bare bones of the new law.
  • But by November 16, 1914, the 12 cities chosen as sites for regional Reserve Banks were open for business, just as hostilities in Europe erupted into World War I.
1914 1919 fed policy during the war
1914-1919: Fed Policy During the War
  • When World War I broke out in mid-1914, U.S. banks continued to operate normally, thanks to emergency currency issued under the Aldrich-Vreeland Act of 1908.
  • But the greater impact in the United States came from the Reserve Banks' ability to discount banker's acceptances.
    • Banker's acceptances are negotiable time drafts, or bills of exchange, that have been accepted by a bank which, by accepting, assumes the obligation to pay the holder of the draft the face amount of the instrument on the maturity date specified. They are used primarily to finance the export, import, shipment or storage of goods.
  • Through this mechanism, the United States aided the flow of trade goods to Europe, indirectly helping to finance the war until 1917, when the United States officially declared war on Germany and financing our own war effort became paramount.
1920s the beginning of open market operations
1920s: The Beginning of Open Market Operations
  • Following World War I, Benjamin Strong, head of the New York Fed from 1914 to his death in 1928, recognized that gold no longer served as the central factor in controlling credit. Strong's aggressive action to stem a recession in 1923 through a large purchase of government securities gave strong evidence of the power of open market operations to influence the availability of credit in the banking system.
  • During the 1920s the Fed began using open market operations as a monetary policy tool. During his tenure, Strong also elevated the stature of the Fed by promoting relations with other central banks, especially the Bank of England.
1929 1933 the market crash and the great depression
1929-1933: The Market Crash and the Great Depression
  • During the 1920s, Virginia Rep. Carter Glass warned that stock market speculation would lead to dire consequences. In October 1929 his predictions seemed to be realized when the stock market crashed, and the nation fell into the worst depression in its history.
  • From 1930 to 1933 nearly 10,000 banks failed, and by March 1933 newly inaugurated President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared a bank holiday, while government officials grappled with ways to remedy the nation's economic woes.
  • Many people blamed the Fed for failing to stem speculative lending that led to the crash, and some also argued that inadequate understanding of monetary economics kept the Fed from pursuing policies that could have lessened the depth of the Depression.
1933 the depression s aftermath
1933: The Depression's Aftermath
  • In reaction to the Great Depression, Congress passed the Banking Act of 1933, better known as the Glass-Steagall Act, calling for the separation of commercial and investment banking and requiring use of government securities as collateral for Federal Reserve notes.
  • The Act also established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), placed open market operations under the Fed and required bank holding companies to be examined by the Fed, a practice that was to have profound future implications, as holding companies became a prevalent structure for banks over time.
  • Also, as part of the massive reforms taking place, Roosevelt recalled all gold and silver certificates, effectively ending the gold and any other metallic standard.
1935 more changes to come
1935: More Changes to Come
  • The Banking Act of 1935 called for further changes in the Fed's structure, including the creation of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) as a separate legal entity, removal of the Treasury Secretary and the Comptroller of the Currency from the Fed's governing board and establishment of members' terms at 14 years.
  • Following World War II, the Employment Act added the goal of promoting maximum employment to the list of the Fed's responsibilities. In 1956 the Bank Holding Company Act named the Fed as the regulator for bank holding companies owning more than one bank, and in 1978 the Humphrey-Hawkins Act required the Fed chairman to report to Congress twice annually on monetary policy goals and objectives.
1951 the treasury accord
1951: The Treasury Accord
  • The Fed largely supported the Treasury's fiscal policy goals from its founding in 1913 to the years up to and following World War II. When the Korean Conflict broke out in 1951, Fed chairman William McChesney Martin again faced pressure from the Treasury to maintain low interest rates to help provide funds for the new conflict. Martin, however, worked closely with the Treasury to break the long-standing practice of supporting government bond interest rates.
  • Since then the Fed has remained staunchly independent in its use of open market operations to support its monetary policy goals.
1970s 1980s inflation and disinflation
1970s-1980s: Inflation and Disinflation
  • The 1970s saw inflation skyrocket as producer and consumer prices rose, oil prices soared and the federal deficit more than doubled. By August 1979, when Paul Volcker was sworn in as Fed chairman, drastic action was needed to break inflation's stranglehold on the U.S. economy.
  • Volker's leadership as Fed chairman during the 1980s, though painful in the short term, was successful overall in bringing double-digit inflation under control.
1980 setting the stage for financial modernization
1980: Setting the Stage for Financial Modernization
  • The Monetary Control Act of 1980 required the Fed to price its financial services competitively against private sector providers and to establish reserve requirements for all eligible financial institutions. The act marks the beginning of a period of modern banking industry reforms.
  • Following its passage, interstate banking proliferated, and banks began offering interest-paying accounts and instruments to attract customers from brokerage firms. Barriers to insurance activities, however, proved more difficult to circumvent.
  • Nonetheless, momentum for change was steady, and by 1999 the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act was passed, in essence overturning the Glass-SteagallAct of 1933 and allowing banks to offer a menu of financial services, including investment banking and insurance sales.
primary supervisory responsibility of bank regulatory agencies
Primary Supervisory Responsibility of Bank Regulatory Agencies
  • Comptroller of the Currency—national banks
  • Federal Reserve and state banking authorities—state banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System
  • Fed also regulates bank holding companies
  • FDIC—insured state banks that are not Fed members
  • State banking authorities—state banks without FDIC insurance
evolution of the banking industry
Evolution of the Banking Industry
  • Financial innovation is driven by the desire to earn profits
  • A change in the financial environment will stimulate a search by financial institutions for innovations that are likely to be profitable
    • Responses to change in demand conditions
    • Responses to changes in supply conditions
    • Avoidance of regulations
responses to changes in demand conditions interest rate volatility
Responses to Changes in Demand Conditions: Interest Rate Volatility
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages
    • Flexible interest rates keep profits high when rates rise
    • Lower initial interest rates make them attractive to home buyers
  • Financial Derivatives
    • Ability to hedge interest rate risk
    • Payoffs are linked to previously issued securities
responses to changes in supply conditions information technology
Responses to Changes in Supply Conditions: Information Technology
  • Bank credit and debit cards
    • Improved computer technology lowers the transaction costs
  • Electronic banking
    • ATM
    • Home banking
    • ABM
    • Virtual banking
  • Junk bonds
  • Commercial paper market
  • Securitization
avoidance of regulations loophole mining
Avoidance of Regulations:Loophole Mining
  • Reserve requirements act as a tax on deposits
    • Sweep accounts
  • Restrictions on interest paid on deposits led to disintermediation
    • Money market mutual funds
decline of traditional banking
Decline of Traditional Banking
  • As a source of funds for borrowers, market share has fallen
  • Share of total financial intermediary assets has fallen
  • No decline in overall profitability
  • Increase in income from off-balance-sheet activities
decline of traditional banking1
Decline of Traditional Banking
  • Decline in cost advantages in acquiring funds (liabilities)
    • Rising inflation led to rise in interest rates and disintermediation
    • Low-cost source of funds, checkable deposits, declined in importance
  • Decline in income advantages on uses of funds (assets)
    • Information technology has decreased need for banks to finance short-term credit needs or to issue loans
    • Information technology has lowered transaction costs for other financial institutions, increasing competition
banks responses
Banks’ Responses
  • Expand into new and riskier areas of lending
    • Commercial real estate loans
    • Leveraged buyouts
    • Corporate takeovers
  • Pursue off-balance-sheet activities
    • Non-interest income
    • Concerns about risk
branching
Branching
  • McFadden Act and state branching regulations prohibited branching across state lines and forced all national banks to conform to the branching regulations of the state in which they were located
  • Bank holding companies and automated teller machines are responses to these regulations
bank consolidation
Bank Consolidation
  • The number of banks has declined over the last 25 years
    • Bank failures
    • Consolidation
    • Deregulation—Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994
    • Economies of scale and scope from information technology
  • Results may be not only a smaller number of banks but a shift in assets to much larger banks
benefits and costs of bank consolidation
Benefits and Costs of Bank Consolidation
  • Benefits
    • Increased competition, driving inefficient banks out of business
    • Increased efficiency also from economies of scale and scope
    • Lower probability of bank failure from more diversified portfolios
  • Costs
    • Elimination of community banks may lead to less lending to small business
    • Banks expanding into new areas may take increased risks and fail
separation of banking and other financial services
Separation of Banking and Other Financial Services
  • Glass-Steagall Act of 1933
    • Prohibited commercial banks from underwriting corporate securities or engaging in brokerage activities
    • Section 20 loophole was allowed by the Federal Reserve enabling affiliates of approved commercial banks to underwrite securities as long as the revenue did not exceed a specified amount
    • U.S. Supreme Court validated the Fed’s action in 1988
separation of banking and other financial services cont d
Separation of Banking and Other Financial Services (cont’d)
  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999
    • Abolishes Glass-Steagall
    • States regulate insurance activities
    • SEC keeps oversight of securities activities
    • Office of the Comptroller of the Currency regulates bank subsidiaries engaged in securities underwriting
    • Federal Reserve oversees bank holding companies
three basic world frameworks
Three Basic World Frameworks
  • Universal banking
    • No separation between banking and securities industries
  • British-style universal banking
    • May engage in security underwriting
      • Separate legal subsidiaries are common
      • Bank equity holdings of commercial firms are less common
      • Few combinations of banking and insurance firms
  • Some legal separation
    • Allowed to hold substantial equity stakes in commercial firms but holding companies are illegal
thrift industry regulation and structure
Thrift Industry: Regulation and Structure
  • Savings and Loan Associations
    • Chartered by the federal government or by states
    • Most are members of Federal Home Loan Bank System (FHLBS)
    • Deposit insurance provided by Savings Association Insurance Fund (SAIF), part of FDIC
    • Regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision
  • Mutual Banks
    • Approximately half are chartered by states
    • Regulated by state in which they are located
    • Deposit insurance provided by FDIC or state insurance
thrift industry regulation and structure cont d
Thrift Industry: Regulation and Structure (cont’d)
  • Credit Unions
    • Tax-exempt
    • Chartered by federal government or by states
    • Regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
    • Deposit insurance provided by National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF)
international banking
International Banking
  • Rapid growth
    • Growth in international trade and multinational corporations
    • Global investment banking is very profitable
    • Ability to tap into the Eurodollar market
eurodollar market
Eurodollar Market
  • Dollar-denominated deposits held in banks outside of the U.S.
  • Most widely used currency in international trade
  • Offshore deposits not subject to regulations
  • Important source of funds for U.S. banks
structure of u s banking overseas
Structure of U.S. Banking Overseas
  • Shell operation
  • Edge Act corporation
  • International banking facilities (IBFs)
    • Not subject to regulation and taxes
    • May not make loans to domestic residents
foreign banks in the u s
Foreign Banks in the U.S.
  • Agency office of the foreign bank
    • Can lend and transfer fund in the U.S.
    • Cannot accept deposits from domestic residents
    • Not subject to regulations
  • Subsidiary U.S. bank
    • Subject to U.S. regulations
    • Owned by a foreign bank
foreign banks in the u s cont d
Foreign Banks in the U.S. (cont’d)
  • Branch of a foreign bank
    • May open branches only in state designated as home state or in state that allow entry of out-of-state banks
    • Limited-service may be allowed in any other state
  • Subject to the International Banking Act of 1978
  • Basel Accord (1988)
    • Example of international coordination of bank regulation
    • Sets minimum capital requirements for banks