This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

How Banks Make Money

After this process has been repeated as many times as possible, that $1000 you originally deposited in your bank can actually be turned into as much as $10,000 in the overall money supply. You can calculate the $10,000 by dividing your initial $1,000 deposit by 10%.

In this way, the total money supply in the economy increases when banks make loans. But, when the money supply increases, the consequence is inflation. Fractional reserve banking leads to inflation.

What If There's a Run on the Banks?

Because banks operate on slim reserve requirements, they would have an immediate and serious problem if their customers were to all demand their money back at the same time. This is what led to the thousands of bank failures during the Great Depression. In response to this crisis, the U.S. government created the FDIC in 1933, which insures the deposits in banks that purchase FDIC insurance.

The Birth of Fractional Reserve Banking

So how did fractional reserve banking come to be? To get the answer, we need to go all the way back to the 16th century and the time of the goldsmiths.

Goldsmiths were the first bankers. Goldsmiths would store a person's gold and keep it safe for a fee. They would provide the owner of the stored gold a receipt to indicate the amount of gold they had stored. The owner of the gold could redeem his receipt for gold at any time. Eventually the receipts themselves were used as money rather than the gold itself.

2 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,042.90 -28.32 -0.17%
S&P 500 1,972.29 -5.51 -0.28%
NASDAQ 4,493.39 -12.4620 -0.28%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs