bank holding company - Investment & Finance Definition
An entity that owns or controls one or more banks as well as insurance or brokerage firms. The Glass Steagall Act of 1933 prevented banks from owning brokerage firms or insurance companies, but that law was repealed in 1999 with the passage of the Financial Services Modernization Act. The 1999 law also did away with the prohibition against commercial banks engaging in underwriting activities such as raising debt and equity capital for their clients.
The Federal Reserve Board of Governors has responsibility for regulating and supervising bank holding companies. Typically, supervision includes approving acquisitions and inspecting the operations of such companies. The Federal Reserve still has authority even though a bank owned by a holding company may be under the pri-mary supervision of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) or Comptroller of the Currency.