Document Type


Publication Date



Financial regulation


Banking and Finance Law


This Article does not purport to present an exhaustive and detailed analysis of the entire political or economic history of bank holding company regulation in the United States. Rather, its goal is to examine one particular aspect of that history-the evolution of the BHCA definition of "bank" and the principal exemptions from that definition. Incomplete as it may be, this story highlights some of the key economic, social and political factors that shaped the current institutional structure of the U.S. financial services market and regulation. Without a thorough understanding of the genesis of that structure, it is difficult to envision an effective method of redesigning it to meet today's regulatory challenges. By revisiting the past, this Article ultimately seeks to contribute to the emergence of a more self-reflexive and context-sensitive approach to financial regulation reform.


This article predates Prof. Omarova's affiliation with Cornell Law School.

Publication Citation

Published in: Review of Banking and Financial Law, vol. 31 (2011-2012).