chapter  7
18 Pages

The past, present and future of banking history

WithChristopher L. Colvin

Banking history as a eld of inquiry is the historical study of banks and other nancial intermediaries, of bankers and nanciers and of the business of banking and the banking of business. Often considered a subeld of business history, scholars who self-identify as banking historians traditionally craft context-rich descriptions of the operations of a single bank or a country’s entire banking sector, or write historical narratives recounting an important chain of events at some critical juncture in the history of that bank or sector. Banking historians usually rely on qualitative archival evidence and public sources written by key decisionmakers and outside observers, contemporary to the events being described. This scholarly tradition tends to be idiographic in nature, focusing on contingency and agency.