DP7051 | Bank Diversification and Incentives

Publication Date

17/11/2008

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the consequences of bank diversification into fee-based businesses. Universal banks raise welfare by expanding the range of services available to entrepreneurs. However, because they may choose to rescue failed entrepreneurs in order to sell them fee-based financial services, universal banks provide weaker incentives. Adopting a holding company structure and devolving liquidation decisions to the lending division partially resolves this problem. We demonstrate a relationship between the welfare effects of diversification and competition for fee-based business, and we analyze the tying of lending and fee-based business. Our analysis yields several testable implications.