1. In 1929 there were more than 25,000 commercial banks in the U.S. Today there are still approximately 7000 banks. In most other countries there are just a handful of major banks – often 4 to 8 institutions dominate the market place. What explains the vastly different character of the banking system in the U.S. from that of other countries? Similarly, most other countries have not in the past provided government sponsored deposit insurance, though some have put it in place as part of their response to the credit crisis. Does the unique structure of the U.S. banking system indicate a greater need for such insurance?
2. As the case study notes, the banking panic of 1933 was not unique. There had been many previous banking panics periodically over the previous century. What made the banking panic of 1933 so extraordinary that it required significant action on the part of the U.S. government?
3. Similarly, what was so extraordinary about the credit crisis of 2007-2010 that it has become the centerpiece of economic policy and required such unusual actions as bailouts, government injections of equity into financial institutions, emergency lending facilities, etc.?
4. Perhaps the best known quotation of Roosevelt’s was “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. How does the thought behind that quotation fit into the provision of Federal deposit insurance? How does it relate to the response by governments around the world to the current credit crisis?
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