Since the early 1960s the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Conference on Bank Structure and Competition has served as a forum for academics, regulators and industry participants to debate current issues affecting the financial services industry. Each year the purpose of the conference is to continue that tradition. This retrospective on the history and evolution of the conference reviews the past four decades of conferences.
The primary motivating factor for the conference was the passage of the 1960 Bank Merger Act and the U.S. versus Philadelphia National Bank Supreme Court decision. Suddenly, bank regulatory agencies were required to consider competitive factors in addition to banking factors when evaluating bank merger applications. Each of the Federal Reserve Banks was encouraged to survey the existing literature on bank structure and develop its own research agendas on these issues. This year's theme was Rethinking Bank Regulation: What Should Regulators Do?