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If Texas Were Chile: A Primer on Bank Reform (A Sequoia Seminar)

If Texas Were Chile: A Primer on Bank Reform (A Sequoia Seminar)

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The central message of this book is that government shielding of banks from the hazards and influence of a free market fosters unsound, crisis-prone banking systems. Almost anywhere in the world, insolvent and mismanaged banks are allowed to go out of business only at the discretion of government supervisors. Banks are often maintained in business for so long that their afflictions spread throughout a regional or national economy: a situation that has yielded catastrophe for entire financial systems. Historically, efforts to mandate government monitoring of financial institutions and state-directed closing of insolvent banks do not adequately take account of bureaucratic inertia and the failure -- for whatever reason -- of supervisors to enforce such guidelines. This book explores the means by which bank closures that should occur will occur -- at the earliest possible date, and with the least possible damage. Chile's 1986 banking law, and how it came about, anchors this volume - ensuring that its discussion of ideas for banking reform would also provide details and direction for their translation into workable law. This law makes banking operations transparent to the public and permits bank monitors a minimum of discretion in either the recapitalization or the closing of failing firms -- thus increasing the regulatory atmosphere's resemblance to a free market. Chile's banking legislation has had a profound effect on the Chilean financial community and has influenced financial reforms in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. This volume provides the first English-language publication of the legislation, and, accompanied by the analysis and discussion of its text by distinguished practitioners, the Chilean experience may now benefit future reforms in many other countries, not least those throughout Asia at the end of the 1990s.

As George G. Kaufman (Loyola University, Chicago) said in his review of the book, If Texas Were Chile "brings together a number of the best observers of banking in both Chile and the United States [and] deserves the attention of all serious students of banking and bank regulation."