What’s a Bank Anyway?

by Investing School on July 5, 2010

A bank is a financial organization that is licensed by a government. Banks have been around for centuries. In fact, the first bank was created in Genoa, Italy in 1407. I t was called Banco di San Giorgio or the Bank of St. George. Banks provide various financial services to its customers. These services also help to make money for its investors. Banks are a place for people to deposit money. Banks are also in the business of loaning money. In fact, banks loan out the money that is deposited by its customers. Banks can also offer other financial services like investment funds. In Germany, for example, banks have had major stakes in industrials corporations. However in the United States, banks are not allowed ownership in non-financial companies. In France, banks are also in the insurance business. They can offer their clients a variety of insurance and financial products.

Government regulation varies depending on country in which you do your banking. The United States, Iceland and the United Kingdom have little regulation when it comes to banking. But, China has much stricter rules when it comes to banking.

A bank acts as a payment agent. This means that if you carry a bank account with a certain bank, you can write a check to someone else and the money from your account will be deposited into the account of the person you wrote the check to.

There are several types of banks to choose from. There are commercial banks, savings banks, savings and loan associations and credit unions.

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