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From long-term savings to instant mortgages: financial demonstration and the role of interaction in markets

Vargha, Zsuzsanna (2011) From long-term savings to instant mortgages: financial demonstration and the role of interaction in markets. Organization, 18 (2). pp. 215-235. ISSN 1350-5084

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Abstract

Accounts of the crisis have privileged 'high finance' innovations whereas retail banks constantly experimented with how they sell (new) products to consumers. I examine the case of product innovation at a home savings bank in Hungary during the pre-crisis credit boom. Turned from offering state-subsidized long-term savings-and-loans to promoting instant mortgages. Based on ethnographic observations of the bank's Direct Selling Organization, I trace the bank's shift from state-subsidized long-term savings-and-loans to instant mortgages, to problems with demonstrating the qualities of financial products, even ostensibly prudent ones. Drawing on concepts of scientific demonstration and proof, I compare how financial advisors explained the plan to consumers before and after it was combined with mortgages: first they drew the funds by hand, later they adopted software-generated scenarios. I suggest that as sellers perform products interactively with clients, consumers' needs appear. Thus, when organized differently, financial demonstrations yield different consumers-with-preferences. Based on this interactional perspective, I find that consumer finance is an 'economy of qualities' where preferences and product properties stabilize through consultation, and where "social" embedding can enable "economic" calculations. Based on this interactional perspective, I examine US and UK proposals for consumer financial protection.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/journals/Journal200981
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2011
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Sets: Departments > Accounting
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 19 May 2011 11:42
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/36105/

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