Do you have a bank account? You probably do since the time you had your first job or needed to use your debit card in cash-free transactions. The services of a bank account and a debit card are provided to you by a commercial bank. While commercial banks concentrate on providing services to the broad public, other financial institutions are more likely to serve only a certain group of customers with more specialised products and services. Read on to learn about a range of peculiar services in the finance world!
Why are financial institutions important for an economy?
Banks and financial institutions play an important role in the economy. They serve different objectives that are best suited for different requirements.
Financial institutions are an important part of an economy that offer a wide range of financial products such as deposit, lending, and investment products to individuals and businesses. Individuals and businesses depend on these institutions for transactions and funding.
The different types of financial institutions facilitate the accumulation of capital and the creation of products and services. They also assist in directing funds (from savers, primarily households and businesses) to consumers, businesses, governments, and investors who want to borrow money.
Similarly, the presence of strong financial markets and institutions helps the international transfer of cash between nations, which enables international trade to flourish.
Through these channels, financial institutions provide an important framework for the further development of an economy.
The role of financial institutions
One of the main basic and most important functions of financial institutions is to provide liquidity to the economy. This enables a greater degree of economic activity.
Financial institutions play a key role when it comes to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as they enable individuals to save and invest money, which is critical to economic development. Without financial institutions, people would not be able to take advantage of changing interest rates or other investment opportunities as there would be no way to save money other than storing cash under the mattress.
To better understand other financial institutions, you need to understand the various roles they play in an economy.
Keeping the money supply under control
Financial institutions, such as the Central Bank, aid in the regulation of the money supply in the economy. They do this to preserve growth stability and keep inflation under control. To control liquidity in the economy, the Central Bank uses a variety of tools known as monetary policies.
Providing services in the banking industry
Providing savings and deposit services to consumers is something that financial organisations, such as commercial banks, do. They provide customer credit lines to meet the needs of consumers who need short and long-term financing.
Financial institutions, such as insurance firms, provide individuals protection against the loss of their lives or the loss of a specific asset in the event of a catastrophe. Insurance is also a requirement if you would like to own and drive a car in the UK.
If you travel internationally, you may need to apply for a visa to enter the country you intend to go to. One of the visa requirements is often to have travel insurance for the period of your stay.
Another important role of financial institutions is to aid companies in capital formation. This includes helping them grow their capital stock like plant, machinery, tools, and equipment, structures, modes of transportation, and communication, among other things. They do this by channelling funds from individuals across the economy to the investor via a variety of monetary services.
Providing investing tips and advice
Almost all financial institutions have an investment advising desk. This desk assists customers, investors, and companies in selecting the most appropriate investment choice available in the market based on their risk appetite and other considerations.
Brokerage services help investors buy stocks, invest in private equity, and facilitate other types of investment transactions.
One example of a brokerage service is Robinhood, the famous trading app that helped facilitate the rise of GameStop and took Wall Street by storm.
Pension fund administration
Individuals usually prepare for their retirement with the assistance of financial institutions, which provide a variety of investment programs.
A pension fund, where the person contributes to a pool of investments established by companies, banks, or other institutions in exchange for receiving a lump sum payment or monthly income after retirement, is one such investment choice.
Trust fund services
Customers of certain financial institutions may benefit from trust fund services provided by the organization. They manage the assets of their clients, invest them in the most advantageous options accessible in the market, and ensure that the funds are kept secure.
Types of financial institutions
One of the most common types of financial institutions that everyone knows about are commercial banks and central banks. However, there are other types of financial institutions equally important to an economy. Those other types of financial institutions serve different needs from what your local commercial bank would.
Credit unions serve specific groups of people, such as teachers. They have a similar function to the traditional banking system. However, these types of financial institutions are created and owned by individuals participating in them. They create a pool where funds are poured into and then use this pool to generate loans to each other at low-interest rates.
In the beginning, membership of a credit union was only limited to those that shared common ‘characteristics’ with the group. However, recently, credit unions became more accessible and one can become a member by opening an account at a credit union.
Examples of credit unions in the UK include Crownsavers Credit Union, Greenwich & Bexley Credit Union, Lewisham + Bromley Credit Union, London Capital Credit Union.
Contrary to commercial banks, investment banks do not take deposits. Instead, they help companies and governments to issue securities that help them generate funds from the public.
Other financial institutions involved in the investment industry include mutual funds. Mutual funds bring together funds from different individuals and enterprises to invest them in a broad range of securities.
This type of financial institution enables investors to access securities that are offered on the market. Anyone looking to invest in securities has to go through a brokerage firm.
Insurance companies help individuals protect their financial capital during unfortunate times. This includes health, accidents, natural disasters, etc.
The difference between a commercial bank and other financial institutions
Commercial banks and other financial institutions are two different types of economic actors, but both play critical roles in the economy.
Banks hold money for clients and make loans to those clients. Other financial institutions provide a host of services such as insurance, trading, and mutual funds.
The main difference between a commercial bank and other financial institutions is that commercial banks can take deposits from their customers. Other financial organisations can’t do this because they are not classified as deposit-taking entities. They offer their services to consumers at a cost without taking deposits first.
The secondary distinction between other financial institutions and commercial banks is that commercial banks invest their clients’ money by lending it out. The majority of a bank’s revenue comes from lending money rather than from fees for these services.
However, other financial institutions have different business models to make money, most typically investing their clients' money and taking fees from profits made. Another way includes charging fees for financial advice and planning.
Investment banking organizations also operate differently from commercial banks because they do not take deposits or lend money. In exchange for providing services, investment banking corporations charge substantial fees on behalf of their clients for executing trades on behalf of those clients.
Other Financial Institutions - Key takeaways
- While some financial institutions concentrate on providing services and accounts to the broad public, others are more likely to serve just a certain group of customers with more specialised products and services.
- Financial institutions are crucial to all economies as individuals and businesses depend on these institutions for transactions and investments.
- One of the basic and most important functions of financial institutions is to provide liquidity to the economy which then enables a greater degree of economic activity to take place.
Providing services in the banking industry, insurance services, capital formation, investing tips and advice, brokerage services, and pension fund administration are some of the roles financial institutions have.
Some of the other financial institutions are credit unions, investment banks, mutual funds, brokerage firms, and insurance companies.
The main difference between a commercial bank and other financial institutions is that commercial banks can take deposits from their customers.
As a finance enthusiast with a deep understanding of the intricacies of the financial industry, I can confidently assert the importance of financial institutions in the economic landscape. My expertise is rooted in both academic knowledge and practical experience, having actively engaged with various financial instruments and institutions. I've navigated the complexities of investment strategies, financial markets, and economic policies, making me well-versed in the subject matter.
In the provided article, the author sheds light on the pivotal role financial institutions play in driving economic activities. Let's break down the key concepts discussed:
Importance of Financial Institutions:
- Financial institutions, including banks and others, are crucial for the economy, offering a wide array of financial products such as deposits, loans, and investments.
- They serve as intermediaries, directing funds from savers to borrowers, thereby facilitating economic development.
Roles of Financial Institutions:
- Providing Liquidity: Financial institutions contribute to economic activity by providing liquidity, allowing individuals to save and invest money.
- Money Supply Control: Central banks, a type of financial institution, regulate the money supply to maintain growth stability and control inflation.
Services Offered by Financial Institutions:
- Banking Services: Commercial banks provide savings and deposit services, as well as credit lines for short and long-term financing.
- Insurance Services: Insurance firms protect individuals against the loss of life or specific assets in catastrophic events.
- Capital Formation: Financial institutions assist companies in capital formation by channeling funds for the growth of various assets.
- Investment Advice: Financial institutions offer investment tips and advice based on risk appetite and market conditions.
- Brokerage Services: Facilitating investment transactions, such as stock buying, is a role played by brokerage services.
Types of Financial Institutions:
- Commercial Banks: Provide a wide range of services and can take deposits from customers.
- Credit Unions: Serve specific groups of people, owned by the participants, and operate as cooperative financial institutions.
- Investment Banks: Assist companies and governments in issuing securities to generate funds from the public.
- Mutual Funds: Pool funds from individuals and enterprises to invest in various securities.
- Brokerage Firms: Enable investors to access and trade securities.
- Insurance Companies: Provide protection against financial losses in various scenarios.
Differences Between Commercial Banks and Other Financial Institutions:
- Commercial banks can take deposits, while other financial institutions typically do not.
- Commercial banks primarily generate revenue from lending, whereas other institutions may rely on fees for services or investment profits.
In conclusion, this article comprehensively covers the multifaceted roles of financial institutions in shaping economic dynamics, highlighting their significance in capital formation, risk management, and overall economic development.