A bank is a financial company that manages the collection and deposit clients' savings, grants loans and provides financial services.

She performs this activity in general through a network of agencies. It is increasingly using other distribution channels: Internet transactions, agreements with retailers for consumer credit and payment cards, ATMs in public places, direct mail, call centers. Commercial banks are part of credit.

In some countries [ref. Required], the financial institution must have a license in order to exercise, which is issued by a State and validated by specific institutions.

By extension, the "bank" is the economic sector which includes the design, production and marketing of the services offered by a bank (banking sector).

The word bank appears in the French language in the fifteenth century. The bankers Lombard northern Italy did their work in places open and settling on benches, which probably derives its name.

The treasurers of the temple had disappeared with him, while others, such as the Medici, open banks in the major cities, which act as embassies, and even become the financial sovereigns.

* The activity of currency changer had developed at the proliferation of foreign exchange at the end of the Late Middle Ages. The princes of Europe need these currencies as much as oriental spices to finance States and incessant conflicts: the guilder was an extraordinary. Previously, the Christian dogma avilissait contact with the money.
* Se then proceeds with the expansion of trade practised by the Italian maritime republics (the galleys of the Republic of Venice had active trade with the Hanseatic League), the opening of commercial companies exceeding counters: the first award was created Bruges, his name comes from the family Van der Buerse.
* Finally, the activity of credit, previously exercised by the Jewish community in light of the prohibition referred to above, ceases to be bound by it alone. Churches open Mountains of piety allowing poor to convert their assets into cash income.

The convergence of these three financial activities was born the contemporary world of the bank by successive concentrations and especially by the recent discovery of prudential principles essential to the proper functioning of this activity based on trust.

Thus the bankers of the High Bank of the 19th century were initially convinced that their strength lies in strong equity, which put their clients in confidence and enabled them to obtain deposits. They accumulèrent and invested, with time deposits and short-term customers, in the development of commerce and industry. In periods of expansion, these bankers realized, by selling their investments, substantial gains and were thus further increasing their own funds. In the time of their holdings slump in the commercial and industrial affairs did not find buyers and their placing on the market that would further depreciate. The loss of depositor confidence came quickly and then unable to liquidate assets reasonably caused the collapse of banker unable to return the deposits from its customers. Laffitte was so, despite the accumulation, since 1825, more than 7 million French capital, definitively swept by the crisis of 1848. Similarly Credit Mobilier, Pereire brothers, with a capital of 120 million francs, and whose support for the most innovative projects of the era is unquestionable, not only withstood the crisis of 1867. CL Fail also be prevail in the crisis of 1882: the value of shareholdings held by the bank had fallen sharply and customer concern, had withdrawn much of its deposits. Henri Germain, the founder of Credit Lyonnais, noting that ensuring equity ratio sovabilité not enough, then invented the modern French bank in determining the "golden rules" of liquidity: the availability of assets of the bank must match the enforceability of its debts: "It is necessary now," wrote the Paris headquarters of the bank "that we have always in the form of cash, London, bankable" (trade receivables escomptables on the City of London or at the Banque de France), "reports an amount equal to that of our sight deposits and accounts of our creditors." Applying these principles CL became a bank deposit modern and robust whose assets were immediately available between 1884 and 1893 from 88% to 100% of liabilities instead of 34.5% in 1881).

The banks, not only in the exercise of the "trade" of the money, but are also agencies that produce the currency. According to the adage "the funds are deposits" ( "loans make deposits"), while credit granted by a bank increases the money supply by creating a bank deposit (money) of equivalent amount, and any refund credit reduces the currency movement.

Banks play a very important economic role in capitalist societies. They (the same as the financial markets) to direct money to those who momentarily too far towards those who need them and have sufficient safeguards. They have a big role in the selection of projects according to their economic prospects. Their role can be compared to that of heart in a human body that distributes oxygen-rich blood to the organs.

A key component of a country's economy, every bank is subject to a fairly strict supervision by a higher authority, in order to verify the soundness of the financial institution relative to the risk that its operations expose:

* Credit risk
* Market Risk
* Country Risk
* Liquidity Risk
* Operational Risk

Given the financial relationships between banks in the banking system, the collapse of a bank can lead by domino effect, with other banks, which, because they were not reimbursed by the bank failed to be themselves unable to cope with their commitments. This nightmare scenario for the banking system, also called systemic risk, lead to a contraction of credit and immediate entry into a country's economic crisis due to lack of financing. The regulator requires us to meet certain financial ratios in order to reduce this risk. The best known is the ratio of capital adequacy ratio Mac Donought (formerly BIS ratio), which was recently upgraded in the framework of the Basel II guidelines, which requires banks to a level of minimum capital to ensure commitments the bank.

Some countries are organizing a fund interbank guarantee for repaying the bank's customers.

Economic Model

The turnover of the banks is called net banking income. It comes:

* Financial charges (charges) on operations;
* Commissions on financial services (credit cards, etc.).
* Interest income by placing and paying the money deposited by their customers;
* The establishment currency: commercial banks are permitted to pay about ten times what their clients deposit with it;
* The activities of investment bank;
* Incurred on asset management business.

Types of banks

All the banks, headed by the central bank, the banking system form of a currency area.

There are so different types of banks according to their role:

* The central bank, such as the Bank of France, Bank of Canada, or the European Central Bank's role
# regulate and supervise the operations of various banks, including ensuring their solvency against the applicants,
# and in particular to oversee the production of currency by banks, and to regulate the use through interest rates. Economic theory sees it as a means to regulate growth through encouragement of the savings or consumption, and act on inflation.
* The banks (in English: commercial banks) are working mainly with their clients, individuals, professionals and businesses, receive deposits, loans and are traditionally separated
# retail banks, (in English: retail banks) for individuals, professionals and SMEs (small and medium enterprises)
# and investment banks (in English: wholesale banks) for medium and large enterprises

But these are often two departments of the same bank;

* Investment banks (in English: investment banks) are working mainly on the financial markets and in particular launch of Financial Transactions (emissions bond, share subscriptions, IPOs, mergers and acquisitions ...)

Increasingly, retail banks and investment are mere subsidiaries of diversified banking groups, which often also involved insurance, management of investment funds and other financial activities. Frequently, they relate to the subsidiary investment banking activities classified as investment bankers.

In the United States, an incompatibility was created by the Banking Act of 1933, known as the Glass-Steagall Act, the activities of:

* Commercial bank, which receives deposits and makes loans
* And investment bank, which conducts transactions in securities and securities.

Adopted at the height of the economic crisis of 1929, the law was intended to prohibit the repetition of what at the time was perceived in the opinion as one of the causes of the stock market bubble: speculation on shares by retail banks. Battu undermined since the deregulation of American financial markets on May 1, 1975, the Glass-Steagal Act gradually fell into disuse and eventually disappear in the fall of 1999 to enable the establishment in the United States of large universal banks, starting by Citigroup.

In addition, we distinguish between banks according to their shareholders.

* The retail banks are generally either commercial or mutualist.
# A mutual bank, a highly developed system in continental Europe, is owned by its members, who are often its clients. It is a regime that comes from the cooperative spirit initiated particularly by the farming community (see cooperative and mutual benefit, see also Savings Bank).
# The commercial banks are companies whose capital is held by shareholders who are generally listed on the stock exchange
No. There is, however, mixed systems Mutual banks with a portion of their capital in shares listed on a stock exchange. This is the case in France, Credit Agricole, which also owns the LCL (Credit Lyonnais), a corporation, and various subsidiaries and affiliates in France and abroad.
* In Germany, where this feature is due to the federal nature of the state, there is a third category of retail banks, the Landesbanken, whose main shareholder is a land, and whose status is changing to comply with the rules of competition in Europe.

Finally, there are banks that specialize in a specific business segment, often from a former Specific rules or, in France, distribution in the past of some "soft loans"

* Banks specialists in consumer credit,
* Or on the contrary, bank specializing in asset management,
* Specialized banks in the real estate credit,
* Specialized banks for leasing to businesses,
* Specialized banks in the financing of a particular economic activity (agriculture, coffee shops, art trade, oil, etc..).

In every country, there are one or more professional organizations representing banks, sometimes depending on their type. The French Banking Federation is the professional organization which represents all banks in France: commercial, cooperative or mutual French or foreign.


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