Narrow banking

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Narrow banking is a proposed type of bank called a narrow bank also called a safe bank. Narrow banking would restrict banks to holding liquid and safe government bonds as opposed to other equities (like loans) against depositor's money as opposed to other assets (such as gold as in the case of the Texas Bullion Depository or cryptocurrency as in the case of proposed banks like Custodia[1]). Making private loans or holding other depositors would be made by the other financial intermediaries along with only holding depositor money is what separates such banks from full-reserve banks. In other words, the function and operation of such banks is very narrow. That is, the deposit taking and payment activities would be separated from financial intermediation activities.


Some early thought leaders in narrow/safe banking include:

  • Satyajit Das from the University of Illinois who published an early on the topic of narrow banking [1]
  • Kevin James from the Bank of England who presented very early on in this debate [2]
  • The Federal Reserve has recently denied approval for such banks in the U.S., claiming that such banks would: interrupt implementation of monetary policy, threaten the repo market, and that the bank is 'too safe' and would thereby threaten general financial stability.[3]


  1. ^ "Safe Banking - An excellent, early, thought leader's view. - Safe Bank Central". Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  2. ^ "The Case for Narrow Banking - Safe Bank Central". Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  3. ^ Matt Levine. "The Fed Versus the Narrow Bank".