The recent spate of bank failures may have you questioning the stability of the banking system.  Media coverage can be biased and there are conflicting accounts about the seriousness of these closings.  The only answer is to do your own research and draw your own conclusions!  But where to start?

Libguides, or research guides, are an excellent place to begin your research, they offer an overview of the topic and links to important legislation, databases, and secondary sources.  For example, this research guide from Georgetown Law Library on Banking Law provides those basics but also resources on current awareness and statistics. This research guide from the University of Illinois Library outlines the steps necessary to research this topic and suggests keywords.

Once you’ve gained an introductory understanding of the area of law, you can begin to look at some of the resources in these research guides, such as government documents. Government agencies often have a rich trove of data and analysis documents available on their websites.  For instance, on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) website I found a two book compilation on the financial crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, including chapters on Pre-FDIC and a chronological overview.  They also provide Bank Failures & Assistance Data from 1934 to the present, data sets which can be downloaded and analyzed. is the website of the United States Government Publishing Office (GPO), it provides free public access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government.  You can search collections for specific documents, or browse the Congressional Serial Set by topic, including bank failures.

Government websites are a great place for free access to information, but what if you don’t have time to devote to original research?  Then check out our library’s databases!  We subscribe to many databases with collections of documents and resources on specific topics, saving you time and energy. Westlaw Precision, Lexis+, and Bloomberg Law each have capsule collections on Banking Law with a wide range of products available for researchers and practitioners alike. Wolters Kluwer VitalLaw, available to UW-Madison users anywhere, provides a Bank Failures Toolkit, complete with checklists and guides on specific sub-topics, such as the role of stakeholders.

Still itching to have the story delivered in a journalistic manner?  Check out think tanks such The Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center, who produce non-partisan research, facts and data for their readers.

Still not sure what to believe? Left with more questions than this article?  Stop by the reference desk where one of our friendly librarians will be happy to assist your research and evaluate your resources!

Submitted by Manriquez,Elizabeth on May 3, 2023

This article appears in the categories: Law Library