Banking - Business in United States of America

Banking: Early Banking

Banking: From 1800 to the Civil War

Banking: From the Civil War to World War II

Banking: After World War II

Top Twenty Banks in the World, 2008, by Assets, in Millions of U.S. Dollars

Definition: Business of storing, transmitting, loaning, and exchanging funds
Significance: The establishment and subsequent expansion of banking services in America contributed to the westward development of the country. It also led to the creation of major businesses. Availability of credit and savings products for individual consumers also gave rise to increased consumption of goods and services provided by American businesses.

Banks provide three services. They give their clients a way to store value for later use (in savings, checking, and other deposit accounts). They make future value available for present use (by offering loans), and they provide a way for individuals to exchange value with other people without being in direct contact with them.

Peter D. Lindquist

Further Reading

  • Brands, H.W. The Money Men: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Hundred Years’War over the American Dollar. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. Biographic study of five figures who shaped the history of U.S. monetary policy and paper currency. 
  • Chernow, Ron. The House of Morgan. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990. Study of J. P. Morgan, who helped stabilize the markets after the Panic of 1907
  • Deane, Marjorie, and Robert Pringle. The Central Banks. New York: Viking Penguin, 1995. Examination of the United States’ central banks and their role in the national economy. 
  • Grant, James. Money of the Mind. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1992. Discusses the role of psychological factors in the history of credit. 
  • Green, Edwin. Banking: An Illustrated History. New York: Rizzoli International, 1989. Provides useful illustrations of key institutions, financial instruments, and bankers. 
  • Klein, Maury. Rainbow’s End: The Crash of 1929. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Details the changes wrought by the stock market crash that began the Great Depression. 
  • Mihm, Stephen. A Nation of Counterfeiters: Capitalists, Con Men, and the Making of the United States. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2007. History of the pre-Federal Reserve United States and the often fraudulent printing and circulation of paper currency and banknotes before the advent of greenbacks. 
  • Rothbard, Murray N. A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II. Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2002. Detailed examination of the personal and political motives of persons in power that led to bank failures and economic disasters over three hundred years of American history. 
  • Warsh, David. Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations: A Story of Economic Discovery. New York: W. W. Norton, 2006. Extended treatment of the history of economics, focusing on the seminal works of Adam Smith in the eighteenth century and of Paul Romer in the twentieth century. 

See also: Credit unions; Deregulation of financial institutions; Morris Plan banks; Postal savings banks; savings and loan associations; Supreme Court and banking law.

Credit unions: Government Deregulation

Banking: After World War II

Banking: From the Civil War to World War II

Banking: Early Banking

Morris Plan banks

Deregulation of financial institutions

Bank failures

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