Abstract: Fashion Trends in Banking Business Models since the 1850s

Hubert Bonin


Evolution in economic trends (third industrial revolution, globalization) and in the money and banking industry has apparently converged. Is the universal banking model merely a fashion trend, a renewed attempt to promote past fashions apparently rejected by banking and banking history? Or is universal banking the key to economic power, so important that there is a "cost of rejecting universal banking"? Our intent is to refresh memories of fashion trends regarding the universal banking model and to determine why, at moments in economic history, the model was praised as a force for accelerating the course and scope of growth. These trends, well known among banking historians, include: Saint-Simonian schemes in the mid-nineteenth century and the Crédit mobilier idea; the German model of the Hausbank or mixed banking model; the rejection of universal and mixed banking models; the rebuilding of a universal banking model from the 1960s through the 1980s; and the issue of universal banking during the 1990s and 2000s.

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