A bank is a financial
intermediary and appears in several related basic forms:
central bank issues money on behalf of a government and regulates the policy
and money supply
savings bank, also known as a building society in Britain is only allowed to
borrow and save from members of a financial cooperative
commercial bank accepts deposits and channels those deposits into lending
activities, either directly or through capital markets.
investment bank is a financial institution that assists individuals,
corporations and governments in raising capital by underwriting and/or
acting as the client's agent in the issuance of securities.
A bank connects customers with capital deficits
to customers with capital surpluses on the world's open financial markets.
Banking is generally a highly regulated industry, and government
restrictions on financial activities by banks have varied over time and
location. The current set of global bank capital standards are called Basel
II. In some countries such as Germany, banks have historically owned major
stakes in industrial corporations while in other countries such as the
United States banks are prohibited from owning non-financial companies. In
banks are usually the nexus of a cross-share holding entity known as the
followed international standards of regulation
prior to the 2008 collapse.
The oldest bank still in existence is Monte dei Paschi di Siena,
headquartered in Siena, Italy, and has been operating continuously since