Anti-Money Laundering Enforcement, Banks, and the Real Economy
63 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2020 Last revised: 9 Jun 2021
Date Written: June 8, 2021
We exploit a tightening of anti-money laundering (AML) enforcement that imposed disproportionate costs on small banks to examine the effects of a change in bank composition towards larger banks on real economic outcomes. In response to intensified AML enforcement at the end of 2012, counties prone to high levels of criminal activity in the form of money laundering experience a withdrawal of small banks and increased activity by large banks. This change in bank composition results in an increase in the number of small establishments and real estate prices. Wages and employment increase in the non-tradable sector, consistent with a household demand channel. Increased secured lending through mortgages is one potential driver of this result, whereas lending through the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) are not.
Keywords: Money laundering, Financial Institutions, Real economy, Deposits and lending, Financial crime
JEL Classification: G21, G28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation