October 5, 1997, Alan Greenspan Describes the Benefits of Combining Investment and Commercial Banking



“The pressures unleashed by technology, globalization, and deregulation have inexorably eroded the traditional institutional differences among financial firms. Examples abound. . . . On the bank side, the economics of a typical bank loan syndication do not differ essentially from the economics of a best-efforts securities underwriting. Indeed, investment banks are themselves becoming increasingly important in the syndicated loan market. With regard to derivatives instruments, the expertise required to manage prudently the writing of over-the-counter derivatives, a business dominated by banks, is similar to that required for using exchange-traded futures and options, instruments used extensively by both commercial and investment banks. The writing of a put option by a bank is economically indistinguishable from the issuance of an insurance policy. The list could go on. It is sufficient to say that a strong case can be made that the evolution of financial technology alone has changed forever our ability to place commercial banking, investment banking, insurance underwriting, and insurance sales into neat separate boxes.”



4 Remarks by Chairman Alan Greenspan at the Annual Convention of the American Bankers Association, Boston, Massachusetts, October 5, 1997 (emphasis added).

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