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James R. Barth
Senior Fellow
Banking and Capital Markets and China and Europe and Financial Innovations and Global Economy and Public Policy and Real Estate and U.S. Economy
Dr. James R. Barth is the Lowder Eminent Scholar in Finance at Auburn University and a senior fellow at the Milken Institute. His research focuses on financial institutions and capital markets, both domestic and global, with special emphasis on regulatory issues.
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Ross Levine
Senior Fellow; Willis H. Booth Chair in Banking and Finance, University of California, Berkeley
Dr. Ross Levine is the Willis H. Booth Chair in Banking and Finance at the University of California, Berkeley. For the past seven years, he has been the James and Merryl Tisch Professor of Economics at Brown University and director of the William R. Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance.
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Ten brain teasers about the global financial system (and where to find the answers)

By: James R. Barth and Ross Levine
May 27, 2014
   
   

How many of the following questions can you answer?

  1. What is the biggest bank in the world?
  2. Which country has the largest banking sector relative to its GDP?
  3. Which country has the largest shadow banking sector relative to its GDP?
  4. How many banks in the world have assets totaling more than a trillion dollars?
  5. How many U.S. banks have assets totaling more than $50 billion?
  6. Which country has the most banks among the fifty biggest banks in the world?
  7. Which country experienced the greatest decline in the number of banks among the fifty biggest banks in the world?
  8. How many countries in the world prohibit commercial ownership of banks?
  9. Over the past 10 years, which five countries have reformed their financial supervisory and regulatory systems by exercising greater market discipline over banks?
  10. Over the past 10 years, which five countries have reformed their financial supervisory and regulatory systems by granting greater official control over banks?

Extra credit: Which country has the largest share of total bank assets that are foreign owned?

Find answers to these questions and many others about the global financial system at the Institute’s newest site, www.globalbanking.org[1] It offers information on the size, shape and regulation, among other characteristics, of banking systems in more than 180 countries. If these questions (answers below) whet your appetite, the site will supply a feast of information.

Experts agree that the functioning of banking systems helps shape the trajectory of human welfare. Banks influence who can start a business and who cannot, who can expand a business and who cannot, who can borrow to educate their children and who cannot.

Globalbanking.org provides information on banking system development, the regulation of banks around the world and the evolution of financial systems. We’ve developed the site to be a resource for journalists and academics comparing countries or analyzing financial systems and for policymakers needing benchmarks for gauging the relative performance of financial systems and their regulations.

[1] Answers: (1) The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, (2) Luxembourg, (3) The Netherlands, (4) 24 banks, (5) 39 banks, (6) China, (7) Japan, (8) Four - Fiji, Guernsey, Isle of Man, United States, (9) India, France, Belarus, United States and Seychelles, (10) Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, Italy, Iceland and Mauritius. (Extra credit) Belize, Fiji, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Jersey and Madagascar (100% of total bank assets are foreign owned).


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