Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2015

JEL Codes

N21, G21, G32

Working Paper Number



Scholars have studied the U.S. banking systems of the late 19th century, but the presence and influence of mutual savings banks has largely gone unexamined. A new annual database of New England banks shows that mutual savings banks had a significant presence in the postbellum banking system. Mutual savings banks accounted for about 75 percent of the region's total bank deposits and largely avoided financial panics. The banks seemed to have complemented rather than competed with national banks. Mutual savings bank growth was correlated with agriculture and urbanization, whereas national bank growth was correlated with manufacturing. Mutual savings banks also channeled significant funds to national banks through the interbank network.

Included in

Economics Commons