Deposit insurance and specialization in commercial bank lending

James R. Booth, Lena Chua Booth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Recent literature focuses on liquidity provision as a unique service provided by financial intermediaries. In this paper, we address why commercial banks dominate the provision of these services. Liquidity provision in lending is reflected in offering loan commitments. We argue that commercial banks have a unique advantage in providing this form of liquidity. This unique advantage derives from their access to deposit insurance, and perhaps to a lesser degree, their access to the discount window of the Federal Reserve System. We empirically examine business loans offered by commercial banks, investment banks, and insurance companies. We show that commercial banks have a comparative advantage in offering loan commitments with fixed-formula floating interest rates. Other major financial intermediaries such as investment banks favor bridge loans for corporate restructuring, and insurance companies favor longer term fixed interest rate spot loans. These results are consistent with commercial banks' unique corporate lending role (that of liquidity provision) deriving from their access to fixed-price deposit insurance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-177
Number of pages13
JournalReview of Financial Economics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2004


  • Commercial bank lending
  • Deposit insurance
  • Loan characteristics
  • Loan commitments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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