Should Banks Be “Narrowed”?
An Evaluation of a Plan to Reduce Financial Instability
In this brief, Biagio Bossone of the International Monetary Fund evaluates narrow banking from the perspective of modern theories of financial intermediation. These theories portray the status quo banking system as a solution to otherwise intractable problems of imperfect information, risk, and even moral hazard. The system's characteristic coupling of liquid liabilities with illiquid assets—seen by some as an undesirable “mismatch”—in fact contributes greatly to the efficiency of the economy. Bossone argues that these efficiency gains outweigh the disadvantages associated with the existing legal framework.