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Alternative Forms of Mixing Banking with Commerce: Evidence from American History


Joseph G. Haubrich


Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

João A. C. Santos


Federal Reserve Bank of New York

February 2003


Abstract:     
Much of the discussion about banking and commerce in America has failed to make several crucial distinctions and has not accounted for many arrangements that have promoted the mixing of these activities. We investigate the history of banking and commerce in the United States, looking both at bank control of commercial firms and commercial firms' control of banks. We trace how these controls have changed with shifting definitions of "bank" and changing methods of "control." Despite the regulations prohibiting some arrangements that promote financial control, we find evidence of extensive linkages between banking and commerce in the United States. These linkages usually build on devices that are very close substitutes to the arrangements prohibited by law. Altogether, our findings question the often made claim that traditionally banking in the United States has been separated from commerce. Furthermore, given that research on Japan and Germany has shown that the mixing of banking and commerce matters for a variety of issues, our evidence also raises some questions on similar research in the United States which makes the simplifying assumption that these industries are separated.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 49

Keywords: Banking, commerce, equity investments, trust departments, director interlocks

JEL Classification: G21, G28, N21, N22

working papers series





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Date posted: March 28, 2002  

Suggested Citation

Haubrich, Joseph G. and Santos, João A. C., Alternative Forms of Mixing Banking with Commerce: Evidence from American History (February 2003). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=305281 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.305281

Contact Information

Joseph G. Haubrich
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland ( email )
East 6th & Superior
Cleveland, OH 44101-1387
United States
216-579-2802 (Phone)
216-579-3050 (Fax)
João A. C. Santos (Contact Author)
Federal Reserve Bank of New York ( email )
33 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10045
United States
212-720-5583 (Phone)
212-720-8363 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: HTTP://WWW.NEWYORKFED.ORG/RMAGHOME/ECONOMIST/SANTOS/CONTACT.HTML
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