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Chicago Fed Letter, No. 171a, November 2001
The Financial Safety Net: Costs, Benefits and Implications (Special Issue)

On May 9–11, 2001, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted its 37th annual Conference on Bank Structure and Competition. This year’s theme, “The Financial Safety Net: Costs, Benefits and Implications for Regulation,” focused on the implications of the various explicit and implicit financial safety nets, ranging from deposit insurance and subsidies to government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) to the notion that some financial institutions are “too big to fail.” The timing of the conference was opportune in light of the reform measures to the deposit insurance program introduced by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in April 2001, the legislative undercurrents concerning the proposed new regulatory structures for the GSEs, and the slowdown in economic activity coupled with greater financial consolidation resulting from the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act of 1999. This Chicago Fed Letter summarizes some of the issues discussed at the conference.

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