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Banks and Banking

Types Of Banks

The term bank is generally used to refer to commercial banks; however, it can also be used to refer to savings institutions, savings and loan associations, and building and loan associations.

A commercial bank is authorized to receive demand deposits (payable on order) and time deposits (payable on a specific date), lend money, provide services for fiduciary funds, issue letters of credit, and accept and pay drafts. A commercial bank not only serves its depositors but also can offer installment loans, commercial long-term loans, and credit cards.

A savings bank does not offer as wide a range of services. Its primary goal is to serve its depositors through providing loans for purposes such as home improvement, mortgages, and education. By law, a savings bank can offer a higher interest rate to its depositors than can a commercial bank.

A SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION (S&L) is similar to a savings bank in offering savings accounts. It traditionally restricts the loans it makes to housing-related purposes including mortgages, home improvement, and construction, although, some S&Ls have entered into educational loans for their customers. An S&L can be granted its charter by either a state or the federal government; in the case of a federal charter, the organization is known as a federal savings and loan. Federally chartered S&Ls have their own system, which functions in a manner similar to that of the Federal Reserve System, called the Federal Home Loan Banks System. Like the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Home Loan Banks System provides an insurance program of up to $100,000 for each account; this program is called the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC). The Federal Home Loan Banks System also provides membership options for state-chartered S&Ls and an option for just FSLIC coverage for S&Ls that can satisfy certain requirements.

A building and loan association is a special type of S&L that restricts its lending to home mortgages.

The distinctions between these financial organizations has become narrower as federal legislation has expanded the range of services that can be offered by each type of institution.

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