The Depression Era Laws That Led to the 1980s Savings and Loan Crisis

Federal Insurance for Bank Deposits Encouraged Consumers, Bankers, and Politicians to Make Riskier and Riskier Choices

In 1986, Citicorp vice chairman Hans H. Angermueller sat before Congress, complaining that federal red tape made a nightmare of buying a special type of bank that specialized in making home loans and was known as a “thrift” or “savings and loan”—or “S&L” for short.

“So why bother?” he asked lawmakers.

He was posturing. Citicorp, the nation’s largest banking holding company at the time, very much wanted to bother with those kinds of banks. Even as Angermueller complained, his colleagues a few blocks away were wrestling with oil billionaire Gordon …

What George Bailey’s Building and Loan Company Can Still Teach Us About Banking

In His Time and Ours, Big Lenders Often Get a Pass, While Small Banks and the Communities They Serve Are Left Vulnerable

The bank run scene in It’s a Wonderful Life always makes me cry real tears. If you care about America, you should love the scene too—and not just because it …

How Iceland’s Rugged Viking Heritage Helped Salvage Its Economy

The Nordic Nation Fought Back Against Its Creditors, Then Rebuilt Its Wrecked Banking System

What can we learn from the Vikings?

I usually write in this space about the economies of the Pacific Rim, and the lessons they hold for policymakers in the United States. …

Why Your Bank Wants No Part of Your Business

Post-Recession Banking Reforms Are Throttling Small Independent Companies

Capital is cheap almost everywhere except for in the heart of the American economy—independent U.S. companies with less than $100 million in revenues.

This is the downside of regulations, enacted …

What It Means to Be ‘California’s Bank’

The Banc of California Bets Big on the State's Small Businesses and Local Communities

If California were a bank, what sort of bank would it be?

Banc of California has a new and intriguing answer to that question: In just six years, “California’s bank,” as …

Parsimony, Be Gone

Political Economist Mark Blyth Says Austerity Is Not Our Friend

Austerity never works. This was the argument of Brown University political economist Mark Blyth, author of Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, as he offered his perspective on economic …