We survey the theory of banking regulation from the general perspective of regulatory theory. Starting by considering the different justifications of financial intermediation, we proceed to identify the market failures that make banking regulation necessary. We then succinctly compare how the analysis of regulation compares in the domains of banking and industrial organization. Finally we analyse why a safety net for banks could be part of banking regulation and how it can be structured in an efficient way.
Recently, the theory of banking regulation has undergone important changes. This has been the consequence of a number of compounding effects that have been occurring in the financial sector. First among these is on-going financial innovation, which has caused a virtual revolution in both financial instruments and markets. As a result, the markets and institutions that must be regulated have changed substantially over time. At the same time, regulation has evolved, as the regulators have learned the lessons from the recent spat of banking crises. As a consequence of these experiences, regulation has become more sophisticated, with the introduction of capital requirements and more complex restrictions on operating procedures.
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