Banking

Significant Points

•    Office and administrative support workers constitute 2 out of 3 jobs; tellers account for about 3 out of 10 jobs.
•    Many job opportunities are expected for tellers and other office and administrative support workers, because these occupations are large and have high turnover.
•    Many management positions are filled by promoting experienced, technically skilled professional personnel.

Nature of the Industry

Banks safeguard money and valuables and provide loans, credit, and payment services, such as checking accounts, money orders, and cashier’s checks. Banks also may offer investment and insurance products, which they were once prohibited from selling. As a variety of models for cooperation and integration among finance industries have emerged, some of the traditional distinctions between banks, insurance companies, and securities firms have diminished. In spite of these changes, banks continue to maintain and perform their primary role—accepting deposits and lending funds from these deposits.

Goods and Services

Banking is comprised of two parts: Monetary Authorities—Central Bank, and Credit Intermediation and Related Activities. The former includes the bank establishments of the Federal Reserve System that manage the Nation’s money supply and international reserves, hold reserve deposits of other domestic banks and the central banks of other countries, and issue the currency we use. The establishments in the credit intermediation and related services industry provide banking services to the general public. They securely save the money of depositors, provide checking services, and lend the funds raised from depositors to consumers and businesses for mortgages, investment loans, and lines of credit.

Industry Organization

There are several types of banks, which differ in the number of services they provide and the clientele they serve. Although some of the differences between these types of banks have lessened as they have begun to expand the range of products and services they offer, there are still key distinguishing traits. Commercial banks, which dominate this industry, offer a full range of services for individuals, businesses, and governments. These banks come in a wide range of sizes, from large global banks to regional and community banks. Global banks are involved in international lending and foreign currency trading, in addition to the more typical banking services. Regional banks have numerous branches and automated teller machine (ATM) locations throughout a multi-state area that provide banking services to individuals. Banks have become more oriented toward marketing and sales. As a result, employees need to know about all types of products and services offered by banks.

Community banks are based locally and offer more personal attention, which many individuals and small businesses prefer. In recent years, online banks—which provide all services entirely over the Internet—have entered the market, with some success. However, many traditional banks have also expanded to offer online banking, and some formerly Internet-only banks are opting to open branches.

Savings banks and savings and loan associations, sometimes called thrift institutions, are the second largest group of depository institutions. They were first established as community-based institutions to finance mortgages for people to buy homes and still cater mostly to the savings and lending needs of individuals.

Credit unions are another kind of depository institution. Most credit unions are formed by people with a common bond, such as those who work for the same company or belong to the same labor union or church. Members pool their savings and, when they need money, they may borrow from the credit union, often at a lower interest rate than that demanded by other financial institutions.

Federal Reserve banks are Government agencies that perform many financial services for the Government. Their chief responsibilities are to regulate the banking industry and to help implement our Nation’s monetary policy so our economy can run more efficiently by controlling the Nation’s money supply—the total quantity of money in the country, including cash and bank deposits. For example, during slower periods of economic activity, the Federal Reserve may purchase government securities from commercial banks, giving them more money to lend, thus expanding the economy. Federal Reserve banks also perform a variety of services for other banks. For example, they may make emergency loans to banks that are short of cash, and clear checks that are drawn and paid out by different banks.

Interest on loans is the principal source of revenue for most banks, making their various lending departments critical to their success. The commercial lending department loans money to companies to start or expand their business or to purchase inventory and capital equipment. The consumer lending department handles student loans, credit cards, and loans for home improvements, debt consolidation, and automobile purchases. Finally, the mortgage lending department loans money to individuals and businesses to purchase real estate.

The money banks lend comes primarily from deposits in checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, and other deposit accounts that consumers and businesses set up with the bank. These deposits often earn interest for their owners, and accounts that offer checking provide owners with an easy method for making payments safely without using cash. Deposits in many banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which guarantees that depositors will get their money back, up to a stated limit, if a bank should fail.

Source: bls.gov,

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