The system of federal deposit insurance adopted during the 1930s has become increasingly costly and unreliable. This timely study warns bankers, regulators, politicians, and taxpayers that no matter how well the deposit-insurance system may have run in the past it is headed for an expensive bureaucratic breakdown. It forcefully argues that unless market discipline can be reintroduced, this breakdown threatens to take depository institutions into de facto nationalization.
Explicit deposit insurance (DI) is widely held to be a crucial element of modern financial safety nets. For this reason, establishing a DI system is frequently recommended by outside experts to countries undergoing reform. Predictably, DI systems have proliferated in the developing world. The number of countries offering explicit deposit guarantees rose from twenty in 1980 to eighty-seven by the end of 2003. This book challenges the wisdom of encouraging countries to adopt DI without first repairing observable weaknesses in their institutional environment.