Financial Services

Financial services

Financial services are the institutions and products that supply people with a way to invest, save and grow their wealth. They also protect against loss or damage to those assets. Banks, credit card companies, brokers and investment firms are all part of the industry. So are credit unions and insurance companies. Financial services also encompasses a wide variety of other activities, such as money management, foreign exchange, and payments.

These activities support a country’s economic growth and development by encouraging more production and savings. They also help individuals and businesses get loans to purchase goods or services, as well as provide funds for debt repayment and taxes. Financial services also include independent agencies that oversee different financial institutions to ensure they’re following rules and upholding transparency.

The types of financial services vary widely from one country to the next. But they typically include central banks; depository institutions (banks, building societies and mortgage banks); credit unions and savings banks; and other deposit-taking institutions; lending services (including financial leasing, hire purchase and personal lending); payment and money transmission services; securities trading and clearance; and asset management.

A broader view of the industry also includes private equity and venture capital providers, which supply funding to small businesses, large companies and nonprofits in return for ownership stakes or profits. And it encompasses insurance, which protects against death or disability (life and health insurance); against property loss or damage (homeowners and car insurance) and against liability for wrongful acts (accident and sickness insurance). Financial services are increasingly being delivered online. As such, the industry is evolving rapidly and creating new opportunities.

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