The banking-industry relationship in Italy : large national banks and small local banks compared, 1913-1936

Rinaldi, Alberto and Spadavecchia, Anna (2019) The banking-industry relationship in Italy : large national banks and small local banks compared, 1913-1936. Business History. ISSN 0007-6791

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    Abstract

    Using a large dataset of Italian joint-stock companies, this article analyses the networks of corporate interlocks of the major universal banks and 20 most ‘central’ local banks in a critical period of Italian industrialisation. The networks of the two types of banks were largely independent, with universal banks being affiliated principally to larger concerns in electricity, transport and storage, and financials; and local banks to riskier, younger and smaller firms in light manufacturing. The article then explores whether the bank-industry relationship in Italy reflected the hegemony of banks and followed a bank-control model. Our analysis does not support that view. It rather indicates that interlocking directorates were driven principally by a convergence of interests between banks (monitoring customers) and industrial firms (interested in tapping capital and credit flows), with the latter exerting a slightly higher influence over the former. This significantly differentiates Italy from Germany and the USA, where banks had a more dominant position in the corporate system.