Business History Review (accepted for publication, Nov. 2018)
By the start of the twentieth century, the two organizational forms most used in Dutch financial services to disperse ownership were the cooperative association and the public company. Share ownership in cooperatives was typically restricted to customers, while companies permitted outside investors. Neither organizational form dictated specific shareholder liability arrangements. New specialist banks targeting SMEs combined these organizational forms and flexible liability rules to create hybrid forms. I find those which took the public company form were more likely to suffer distress during the Dutch financial crisis of the 1920s. Liability arrangements for shareholders, by contrast, had a negligible impact on these banks’ resilience.