Quarterly Review 1521

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Investigating the Banking Consolidation Trend

John H. Boyd - Senior Research Officer
Stanley L. Graham - Economist

Spring 1991

Abstract
This paper examines whether the U.S. banking industry's recent consolidation trend—toward fewer and bigger firms—is a natural result of market forces. The paper finds that it is not: The evidence does not support the popular claims that large banking firms are more efficient and less risky than smaller firms or the notion that the industry is consolidating in order to eliminate excess capacity. The paper suggests, instead, that public policies are encouraging banks to merge, although it acknowledges that other forces may be at work as well.


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