Alternative Banking and Financial Crisis by Kurt von Mettenheim, Olivier Butzbach

By Kurt von Mettenheim, Olivier Butzbach

The new banking predicament has introduced into query the enterprise version utilized by such a lot huge banks. This choice of essays explores the good fortune of ‘alternative banks’ – reductions banks, cooperative banks and improvement banks, utilizing case experiences from worldwide and dialogue of either the historic and theoretical context of banking practices.

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Once established, the funds of these institutions attracted attention from central governments that created official postal savings banks to compete with regional and local alternative banks. In 1840 this already struck Alexis de Tocqueville as a dangerous development: In some countries these benevolent associations [savings banks] are still completely distinct from the state; but in almost all they manifestly tend to identify themselves with the government; and in some of them the government has superseded them, taking upon itself the enormous task of centralizing in one place, and putting out at interest on its own responsibility, the daily savings of many millions of the working classes.

In many developing and emerging countries, very large pub- The Comparative Performance of Alternative Banks before the 2007–8 Crisis 31 lic savings banks (often postal savings banks) have realized competitive advantages and provided policy alternatives even – and perhaps most importantly – in weak and failed states for public management, social inclusion and reconstruction after war and natural disasters. That is the case, for instance, of Brazil’s Caixa Economica Federal, the country’s third largest bank.

Indeed, for Plato,6 credit in the sense of formal agreements to transfer property rights for money or goods was abhorrent because it implied a lack of trust. 8 Demosthenes mentions borrowing by citizens to cope with bad times and crises. Aristophenes9 and Plutarch10 refer to substantial cash loans between the wealthy to support elite lifestyles. 11 However, recent research has reversed this view to suggest that private banking was indeed central for commerce and trade. 12 This begs the question of how pawnbrokers (a precursor of alternative banking) were, in fact, organized in ancient times.

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