NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

California Banking in the Nineteenth Century: The Art and Method of the Bank of A. Levy

Eugene N. White

NBER Working Paper No. 7187
Issued in June 1999
NBER Program(s):   DAE

An 1890s loan book of the Bank A. Levy permits a detailed examination of the lending operations of a private bank in California during the National Banking Era (1864-1914). This period has been intensively analyzed at the macroeconomic level, but there are few microeconomic studies of banks. This unregulated bank was well integrated into national money markets and lent to a broad cross section of the community. Although the bank appeared to adhere to the real bills doctrine, it provided medium term uncollateralized financing to business. The bank priced risk carefully, offering rates equal to the lowest in the country to its best customers while charging extraordinarily high rates to borrowers deemed risky. In the absence of modern accounting, close scrutiny of borrowers' businesses and personal lives overcame the asymmetry of information between borrower and lender, enabling the bank to fulfill a special intermediary role.

download in pdf format
   (274 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (274 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7187

Published: White, Eugene N. "California Banking in the Nineteenth Century: The Art and Method of the Bank of A. Levy." Business History Review 75, 2 (Summer 2001): 297-324.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
DeLong w3426 Did J.P. Morgan's Men Add Value? A Historical Perspective on Financial Capitalism
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us