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By Dow, J. C. R.; Saville, I. D.

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Extra resources for A Critique of Monetary Policy

Sample text

The element of risk in lending and the difficulty of measuring it will ensure that banks retain quantitative restrictions on their lending. But at this point, banks will have expanded to the point where they have made all the loans they judge profitable to make. From their own point of 26 The Behaviour of the Financial System view, the banks will then have eliminated excess demand, though from the point of view of the borrowers, an unsatisfied demand for loans may well remain. Where this point lies will depend on the criteria that govern banks' lending behaviour at any time.

As will be shown in more detail in Chapter 11, bank balance sheets have expanded roughly in line with money national income for some of this time. But there were two periods — the years 1971-3, and the years following 1980 —- when bank lending, and also building society lending, grew markedly more rapidly than money national income. In each case the upsurge followed the removal of direct controls on bank lending; and in each case there is some evidence that both banks and building societies significantly relaxed their lending criteria, and began on an increasing scale to exploit lending opportunities from which they had previously abstained.

We could, for instance, consider the effects of an increase (or decrease) in investment or export demand. However, it seems more illuminating for present purposes to look at the effects on the financial system of a relaxation in banks' lending criteria, leading to an expansion of bank lending. We do not see lending criteria as being highly unstable, but some major gradual changes do seem to have occurred and to have been important. Our aim here is primarily methodological; this illustration 28 The Behaviour of the Financial System offers a way of throwing more light on how the limits on banks' power to create money arise, and how quickly they operate.

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