Can the lessons of the past help us to prevent another banking collapse in the future? This is the first book to tell the story of the rise and fall of British banking stability in the past two centuries, and it sheds new light on why banking systems crash and the factors underpinning banking stability. John Turner shows that there were only two major banking crises in Britain during this time: the crisis of 1825–6 and the Great Crash of 2007–8. Although there were episodic bouts of instability in the interim, the banking system was crisis-free. Why was the British banking system stable for such a long time and why did the British banking system implode in 2008? In answering these questions, the book explores the long-run evolution of bank regulation, the role of the Bank of England, bank rescues and the need to hold shareholders to account.
As an undergraduate, I was taught about the failure of Herstatt Bank in 1974 and Herstatt risk. This bank was only the 35th largest bank in Germany at the time so why would anyone be interested in studying its failure? Herstatt failed because of its involvement in risky foreign exchange business. When it closed its doors on 26 June 1974, counterparty banks (mainly in New York) had not received dollars due to them because of time-zone differences - this is known as settlement risk. The cross-jurisdictional implications of its failure resulted in the Bank for International Settlements setting up the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and Herstatt's failure was a key reason for the establishment of real-time gross settlements systems, which ensures that payments between two banks are executed in real time. The Bank of England's Ben Norman has an interesting post on Herstatt over at the Bank's new blog ( Bank Underground ). As well as giving an excellent overview of