Full Reserve Banking Pros and Cons

Introduction: Full Reserve Banking, also known as 100 Percent Reserve Banking or Sovereign Money Full Reserve Banking, is a monetary policy concept that challenges the traditional fractional reserve banking system. In a full reserve banking model, banks are required to hold 100 percent of customer deposits as reserves, meaning they must maintain enough cash or liquid assets to cover all deposited funds. This article explores the fundamentals of full reserve banking, its pros and cons, and how it differs from fractional reserve banking.

What is Full Reserve Banking?

Full Reserve Banking is a banking system where banks are mandated to hold the entirety of their customers’ deposits as reserves and keep them in cash or highly liquid assets. This ensures that depositors have immediate access to their funds at any given time, eliminating the risk of bank runs and providing greater financial stability. Unlike fractional reserve banking, where banks lend a portion of deposited funds, full reserve banks do not engage in lending with customer deposits.

List of Full Reserve Banks:

As of the present, there are limited examples of full reserve banks operating on a significant scale. Some countries and private institutions have experimented with or proposed full reserve banking models, but widespread implementation remains uncommon.

Full Reserve Banking Pros and Cons:


  • Financial Stability: Full reserve banking reduces the risk of bank failures and financial crises since banks have sufficient reserves to honor all customer withdrawal requests.
  • Elimination of Bank Runs: With 100 percent reserves, customers can withdraw their deposits in full at any time, eliminating the possibility of bank runs.
  • Reduced Risk-Taking: Full reserve banks are less likely to engage in risky lending practices, reducing the chances of asset bubbles and speculative booms.


  • Lower Profitability: Full reserve banks cannot earn interest on customer deposits by lending them out, which could result in lower profits compared to fractional reserve banks.
  • Limited Credit Creation: In a full reserve banking system, the credit creation capacity of banks is significantly reduced, potentially limiting investment and economic growth.
  • Challenging Implementation: Transitioning to a full reserve banking system may require substantial adjustments in the financial sector and could be challenging to implement on a large scale.

How Do Full Reserve Banks Make Money?

Full reserve banks generate income primarily through service fees, transaction charges, and other banking services offered to customers. Unlike fractional reserve banks that earn interest on loans, full reserve banks rely on these fees to cover operational costs and generate profits.

Sovereign Money Full Reserve Banking:

Sovereign Money Full Reserve Banking takes the concept of full reserve banking a step further. In this model, only the central bank has the authority to create and issue money, rather than commercial banks through lending. It gives the central bank direct control over the money supply, aiming to stabilize the economy and prevent financial instability.

Fractional Reserve vs. Full Reserve Banking:

The primary difference between fractional reserve and full reserve banking lies in the handling of customer deposits. Fractional reserve banks hold a fraction of deposited funds as reserves and lend out the rest, creating new money in the process. On the other hand, full reserve banks keep 100 percent of customer deposits as reserves, refraining from lending with these funds.

What is 100 Percent Reserve Banking?

100 Percent Reserve Banking is another term for full reserve banking. It denotes a banking system where banks maintain a reserve equal to the entire amount of customer deposits, ensuring that all funds are available for immediate withdrawal.


Full Reserve Banking represents a novel approach to monetary policy that prioritizes financial stability and the elimination of bank runs. While it offers benefits such as reduced financial risk and enhanced customer confidence, it also faces challenges in terms of profitability and credit creation. While full reserve banking is not yet widely adopted, its proponents continue to advocate for its potential to create a more secure and stable banking system. As economies evolve, the debate between fractional and full reserve banking will likely continue, influencing the future of monetary policy and financial regulation.

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