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Economic Definition of disintermediation. Defined.

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Term disintermediation Definition: A general deterioration in the profitability of a bank because it pays high interest rates on short-term borrowing, but earns relatively low interest rates on long-term lending. This was a big, BIG problem for savings and loans (S&Ls) during the 1970s and ultimately caused many of them to fail in the 1980s. S&Ls were designed (by law) to make long-term (30-year) home loans to consumers, but to get the funds for these loans using standard savings accounts. When inflation and interest rates shot up in the 1970s, S&Ls found it necessary to pay savers higher rates to get the funds. But, they still had a bunch of home loans--with low interest rates--that were 15, 20, or 25 years from being repaid. For several years, S&Ls received 6 percent on many of their loans, but paid out something like 12 percent. This gradually eroded their profitability until many were forced to close their doors.

 

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