Banking problems exist throughout the world. An International Monetary Fund (IMF) study by Lindgren, Garcia, and Saal (1996, Table 2) revealed that during the 1980–spring 1996 period, 133 of the IMF’s 181 member countries had experienced significant banking sector problems. This study presents the results of a survey of banking problems and their resolution in the Group of Ten countries since 1980. Actually, the Group of Ten countries, or G-10, now refers to eleven countries: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States. Switzerland became a full member of the group in 1984. 1 These countries play a key role in global monetary affairs and trade. However, they were not immune from banking problems. Although bank failures in the United States have been examined extensively in the literature, bank failures in the foreign G-10 countries have been overlooked. This book is a first step in filling that void.
Most of the research for this study was conducted while I was a Visiting Scholar at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in Washington, DC during January–May 1997, where I was assigned to evaluate some, but not all, of the issues presented here. The issues of too-big-to-fail and bank regulation were not part of my assignment.