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Kurt Mettenheim and Olivier Butzbach

The authors explore the genesis of alternatives to private banks, that is, savings banks, cooperative banks and development banks in the nineteenth century. They interpret the establishment of alternative banks as social reactions of self-defense in Karl Polanyi’s sense. The strengths of these alternative banks are rooted in what they call patient capital. Financial investments can be called patient when they are not made in expectation of short-term profits but in anticipation of more sustainable returns over time toward social missions or public policy. Patient capital provides alternative banks with competitive advantages for which the authors provide evidence from statistical analysis and comparison of bank balance sheets in historical data and standard measures of bank performance using bankscope data on bank balance sheets from 2006 to 2012. The success of alternative banks in recent years allows them to argue that although reforms have marginalized alternative banks in liberal market economies, liberalization produced back-to-the-future modernization of patient capital practices at alternative banks in coordinated market economies and emerging and developing nations.