Are Banks Irrelevant?

2 01 2020

  By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

This is the title of my newest law review article[2], which discusses the future of banking in the United States and globally, looking decades into the future.

As stated in the article’s introduction:

[T]he author revisits briefly Wells Fargo’s problems that have tarnished America’s fourth largest and the world’s thirteenth largest bank, with almost $2 trillion in assets—and created what some have characterized as a rogue and lawless financial institution, the largest in the United States if not the world.  He asks whether Wells is an anachronism or dinosaur whose time has passed, along with that of its sister financial institutions.  As branches and checks disappear, and as a “branchless” and “checkless” financial system emerges, what role will traditional banks play in American and global commerce?  Also, what roles will so-called “shadow banks” and “non-banks” play in the future, and how will Congress and America’s financial institution regulators deal with these critical issues, or can they?  In the final analysis, will we live in a world of “bankless” banking?

What is coming will affect every American, and the residents of other countries globally.  Indeed, as I concluded in the article:

As America and other countries move into the “brave new world” of “bankless banking,” query whether every conceivable financial problem of the past may surface again and again: runs on banks and their financial alter egos; panics around the globe; regulators who are helpless to “put out the fires” spreading everywhere; and a global loss of confidence in the “system”?  . . .  [A]ll of this may be set in motion—or at least exacerbated—by events over which none of us have any control. Indeed, a review of past events in economic history is eye-opening and shocking for those who are naïve about what can happen in the future.

Stay tuned.  Indeed, a “brave new world” is coming, just as computers, the Internet and smartphones have changed everything that we do today.



© 2020, Timothy D. Naegele

[1]  Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass). He and his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, specialize in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see and He has an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal (see, e.g., Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,, and can be contacted directly at

[2]  See Timothy D. Naegele, Are Banks Irrelevant? 137 BANKING L. J. 3 (January 2020) (Naegele January 2020) (Timothy D. Naegele) [NOTE: To download The Banking Law Journal article, please click on the link to the left of this note]

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