This article examines the Brazilian banking system from 1906 to 1930, and analyses two potential constraints to dynamic banking: government economic policy and concepts of ownership, as expressed through property rights. It finds that the banking system was quite dynamic in supporting economic change. The problems of, and constraints to, banking development are typically declared, or assumed, to result from the exigencies of government monetary policy. The results of monetary policy for private-sector development emerge as significantly less than existing historiography would suggest. However, concepts and protection of property rights constrained the ability of banks to expand their activities.