The economy of the world is changing. In 2008 the banking system came close to collapse because the banks had leveraged their deposits and forgotten that when times gets bad, leverage wipes out assets when times are bad just as effectively as leverage makes money when times are good. The banks were too big to fail, because they would have lost people’s deposits if they were put into insolvency. Most businesses are too small to matter, if they go broke, but this was not the case with the banks.
Across the world governments have imposed restrictions on banks. They have to be more prudent with their lending, they must not leverage to the extent that they previously did, they must hold more back in reserves and generally behave more prudently.
These new rules have caused two effects quite apart from making the banks behave. They have concentrated capital in the hands of the people who already have capital, and made it difficult for people to borrow capital for business, simply because the banks do not have the capital available. They set up rules about borrowing which are designed to restrict lending rather than to ensure prudent lending.
In these circumstances there are now new businesses and growing businesses which take deposits and make loans in different ways from the ways that banks have traditionally done this. Most of these new businesses use the internet, but that is simply their means of finding customers, rather than their modus operandi. They promote things like peer to peer lending, matching bargains, and raising capital through crowd funding. Thus they are gradually filling the various gaps that the banks have left as a result of having to meet new regulations.
These new businesses will no doubt grow, merge, and may eventually become as successful as the banks were. There is less risk to the economy by a failure of one of these new businesses, because generally they act as brokers between individuals and companies rather than as principals in the way that banks operated.
No doubt there will be scandals, misrepresentations and frauds- these are inevitable in every field of human business conduct, but for now and for me at least, they seem less dangerous than cartels of banks which have dominated these activities.