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California had a virtually unregulated banking environment until the first comprehensive banking regulations were passed in 1905. These regulations, and subsequent changes in 1909, required reserves and paid-up capital. Several tests of commonly accepted measures of safety, such as bank reserves, paid-up capital, bank failures, and real estate loans that resulted in foreclosure, are compared for selected years before and after the regulations. Results do not clearly demonstrate that regulation enhanced the safety of individual banks, but do support the conclusion that regulation enhanced the safety of the banking system as a whole.


This article was originally published in Essays in Economic and Business History, volume 14, in 1996.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



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