Bank

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DEFINITION of 'Bank'

A financial institution licensed as a receiver of deposits. There are two types of banks: commercial/retail banks and investment banks. In most countries, banks are regulated by the national government or central bank.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Bank'

Commercial banks are mainly concerned with managing withdrawals and deposits as well as supplying short-term loans to individuals and small businesses. Consumers primarily use these banks for basic checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit and sometimes for home mortgages. Investment banks focus on providing services such as underwriting and corporate reorganization to institutional clients.

While many banks have both a brick-and-mortar and online presence, some banks have only an online presence. Online-only banks often offer consumers higher interest rates and lower fees. Convenience, interest rates and fees are the driving factors in consumers' decisions of which bank to do business with. As an alternative to banks, consumers can opt to use a credit union.

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