I've heard it in several finance movies and the sentiment is kind of clear but what does it actually mean, "a run on a bank"?

closed as off-topic by chasly from UK, Edwin Ashworth, Avon, TimLymington, Dan Bron Aug 15 '15 at 16:12

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  • I typed your phrase exactly as it was, i.e., "a run on a bank", into Google. Here are the results. They explain the phrase in great detail. ---> google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl#q=+%22a+run+on+a+bank%22%3F – chasly from UK Aug 15 '15 at 12:19
  • Note, "kinda" is not an accepted abbreviation in written English. It is only used in song lyrics, quoted dialog, and very informal writing such as tweets. You should use "kind of" ;-) – chasly from UK Aug 15 '15 at 12:24
  • If you prefer to do your research using movies, watch It's a Wonderful Life. – Mazura Aug 16 '15 at 1:46
  • @chaslyfromUK, regarding "kinda": seems like it's only an opinion, it is surely informal, but unless u define written English as something more than essay/novel/etc writing I'm 100% correct. Regarding google: somehow I didn't get that result, but I'm also not using eng lang google. – Denys S. Aug 16 '15 at 16:30
  • It's not 'only an opinion.' If you don't believe me then you might like to submit a separate question about it. Note that such abbreviations are quite commonly and mistakenly used by many non-native English speakers. As I say, you may see it on social media but with even moderately formal writing, such as you'll see on an English language website, it's not acceptable. Analyse this ----> books.google.com/ngrams/… – chasly from UK Aug 16 '15 at 16:45

It means a large number of customers trying to withdraw their deposits in a short period of time. The bank only holds enough cash to allow a small percentage of all deposits to be withdrawn. So if the run is big enough, the bank's cash is exhausted and they have to close, at least for a short time.

  • Good answer. The technical term for the system that allows banks to do this is fractional-reserve banking. – Marconius Aug 16 '15 at 2:10
  • Thanks, I hadn't heard that term. There are also set percentages of deposits that banks must hold with the reserve banks, called statutory reserve deposits . – Kim Ryan Aug 27 '15 at 5:40

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