Abstract

I am happy to explain a phenomenon that, as far as I can tell, is peculiar to the United States and, thanks to U.S. influence, to Japan. That phenomenon is the legal separation between the commercial banking business and the investment banking business. Separation might not now be the correct word. Many developments over the 1980s have made the separation between commercial and investment banking in the United States a matter of historical interest rather than a practical reality. I predict these changes will continue: they will continue in the courts, they will continue in the administrative agencies, and they will continue in Congress with increasing momentum until these two businesses are again united.