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Submitted by Selcuk Caner and Suheyla Ozyildirim on
The response of state banks to mitigate the effects of the financial crisis in various countries deserves a closer analysis. While inefficiencies and misallocation of resources by state-owned banks in various countries is well-documented, it is also a well-known fact that we are glad that some countries managed to limit the negative effects of the global financial crisis because of the existence of state-owned banks. A comparison of the costs of bank bail-out programs in private banking systems versus mixed banking systems would provide better evidence about the usefulness of state-owned banks. In support of the existence of state-owned banks, in the Russian Federation the cooperation between the Central Bank of Russian and the two largest state-owned banks, Sberbank and Vneshtorgbank enabled the continued functioning of the banking system. This is a first in the Russian Federation which has experienced bank runs resulting in significant welfare losses. The two state-owned banks assisted the Central Bank in providing liquidity, credit and consolidating troubled banks while at the same time enabling the financial system to continue operating. In an earlier study we conducted on Russian banks, we found the state-owned banks in the Russian Federation to be more efficient than the private banks. This result refutes the sweeping arguments raised by Calomiris on the efficiency of private banks as a foregone conclusion.