Types of Banks

  • Commercial banks: the term used for a normal bank to distinguish it from an investment bank. After the Great Depression, the U.S. Congress required that banks only engage in banking activities, whereas investment banks were limited to capital market activities. Since the two no longer have to be under separate ownership, some use the term “commercial bank” to refer to a bank or a division of a bank that mostly deals with deposits and loans from corporations or large businesses.
  • Community banks: locally operated financial institutions that empower employees to make local decisions to serve their customers and the partners.
  • Community development banks: regulated banks that provide financial services and credit to under-served markets or populations.
  • Land development banks: The special banks providing long-term loans are called land development banks (LDB). The history of LDB is quite old. The first LDB was started at Jhang in Punjab in 1920. The main objective of the LDBs are to promote the development of land, agriculture and increase the agricultural production. The LDBs provide long-term finance to members directly through their branches.[24]
  • Credit unions or co-operative banks: not-for-profit cooperatives owned by the depositors and often offering rates more favourable than for-profit banks. Typically, membership is restricted to employees of a particular company, residents of a defined area, members of a certain union or religious organizations, and their immediate families.
  • Postal savings banks: savings banks associated with national postal systems.
  • Private banks: banks that manage the assets of high-net-worth individuals. Historically a minimum of USD 1 million was required to open an account, however, over the last years many private banks have lowered their entry hurdles to USD 350,000 for private investors.[citation needed]
  • Offshore banks: banks located in jurisdictions with low taxation and regulation. Many offshore banks are essentially private banks.
  • Savings bank: in Europe, savings banks took their roots in the 19th or sometimes even in the 18th century. Their original objective was to provide easily accessible savings products to all strata of the population. In some countries, savings banks were created on public initiative; in others, socially committed individuals created foundations to put in place the necessary infrastructure. Nowadays, European savings banks have kept their focus on retail banking: payments, savings products, credits and insurances for individuals or small and medium-sized enterprises. Apart from this retail focus, they also differ from commercial banks by their broadly decentralized distribution network, providing local and regional outreach – and by their socially responsible approach to business and society.
  • Building societies and Landesbanks: institutions that conduct retail banking.
  • Ethical banks: banks that prioritize the transparency of all operations and make only what they consider to be socially responsible investments.
  • A direct or internet-only bank is a banking operation without any physical bank branches, conceived and implemented wholly with networked computers.

Types of investment banks

  • Investment banks “underwrite” (guarantee the sale of) stock and bond issues, trade for their own accounts, make markets, provideinvestment management, and advise corporations on capital market activities such as mergers and acquisitions.
  • Merchant banks were traditionally banks which engaged in trade finance. The modern definition, however, refers to banks which provide capital to firms in the form of shares rather than loans. Unlike venture caps, they tend not to invest in new companies.

Both combined

  • Universal banks, more commonly known as financial services companies, engage in several of these activities. These big banks are very diversified groups that, among other services, also distribute insurance – hence the term bancassurance, a portmanteau wordcombining “banque or bank” and “assurance”, signifying that both banking and insurance are provided by the same corporate entity.

Other types of banks

  • Central banks are normally government-owned and charged with quasi-regulatory responsibilities, such as supervising commercial banks, or controlling the cash interest rate. They generally provide liquidity to the banking system and act as the lender of last resort in event of a crisis.
  • Islamic banks adhere to the concepts of Islamic law. This form of banking revolves around several well-established principles based on Islamic canons. All banking activities must avoid interest, a concept that is forbidden in Islam. Instead, the bank earns profit (markup) and fees on the financing facilities that it extends to customers.