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Is It Necessary to Separate Retail Banking from Investment Banking? Discuss Possible Advantages and Disadvantages of Such a Separation Using Academic Literature

In: Business and Management

Submitted By jhanb
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Origins and Responses to the Crisis
Barry Eichengreen
University of California, Berkeley
October 2008
Nearly two years after the outbreak of the credit crisis (which may be dated to March 2007 when major losses were announced by the U.S. subprime-based investors Accredited Home Lenders
Holding and New Century Financial), key issues remain to be resolved. At the most basic level the questions are two. What caused the crisis? And in light of one’s answer to this first question, what should be done to minimize the risk of repetition if not of identical events then at least of something similar?
To say that these questions remain to be satisfactorily answered is not the same as saying that there has been a shortage of attempts. Standard operating procedure starts by rounding up the usual suspects: unethical mortgage brokers, greedy bankers, naïve homeowners, and illinformed investors. Lists focusing less on individuals than mechanisms emphasize agency problems between brokers and banks, the originate-and-distribute model, excessive leverage and short-term funding, the perverse incentives created by executive compensation practices, conflicts of interest within the rating agencies, and permissive monetary policies. These long lists of causes lead to correspondingly long lists of reforms: regulate mortgage brokers, rating agencies, and executive compensation; force banks to keep a participation in any securities they originate; require banks to hold more capital; and revisit whether monetary policy should respond to credit booms and asset bubbles. This of course is only a very incomplete summary of a vast and rapidly-growing literature.
The limitations of this standard operating procedure will be apparent. However successful it is at pinpointing the immediate causes of the crisis, it fails to identify the deeper conditions that allowed those...

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