Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 8 No. 3 (Summer 1994)


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Universal Banking

Article Citation

Benston, George J. 1994. "Universal Banking." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 8(3): 121-144.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.8.3.121


Universal banks can offer the entire range of financial services within the bank or through subsidiaries. Most countries permit universal banking. In contrast, the United States is served only by specialized banks. Universal banking, particularly in Germany, is contrasted with specialized banking with respect to their effect on financial stability, economic development, other financial institutions, concentration of political and economic power, consumer choice, and conflicts of interest. This examination, including a review of relevant empirical studies, leads to the conclusion that universal banking offers many benefits and few costs to U.S. consumers.

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Benston, George J. (Emory U)

JEL Classifications

G21: Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages


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