"Once upon a longish time ago, Swiss bankers were solemn men to whom you took the money stashed under your mattress so Oliver Landmann they could stash it under theirs. Not now." (The Economist, February 2nd, 1991) As The Economist has recognized, the banking business is subject to thorough change. Traditional competitive advantages are lost, new ones must be sought. And above all, the rapid globalization of fmancial markets in the recent past has greatly intensified international competition in banking. In view of these developments, the issue of competitiveness in banking has become an urgent research priority. The contributions collected in this conference volume present the ftrst results of a joint research project of the Labour and Industrial Economics Research Unit at the University of Basel, the International Centre for Monetary and Banking Studies, and the Graduate Institute for International Studies in Geneva on the Swiss Financial Sector. TIle Conference was held in Basel on May 16 - 17, 1991. The research project, directed by Professors Alexander Swoboda, Niklaus Blattner and Hans Genberg, is part of the National Research Programme Nr. 28, commissioned by the Swiss Government and administered by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The programme is devoted to the external economic challenges faced by Switzerland. The notion of competitiveness is at the very core of this research programme.