A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:
Because of the important role depository institutions play in the financial system, the banking industry is generally regulated with government restrictions on financial activities by banks varied over time and by location. Current global bank capital requirements are referred to as Basel II. In some countries, such as Germany, banks have historically owned major stakes in industrial companies, while in other countries, such as the United States, banks have traditionally been prohibited from owning non-financial companies. In Japan, banks are usually the nexus of a cross-share holding entity known as the "keiretsu". In Iceland, banks followed international standards of regulation prior to the recent global financial crisis that began in 2007.
The oldest bank still in existence is Monte dei Paschi di Siena, headquartered in Siena, Italy, which has been operating continuously since 1472.
A Bank's main source of income is interest paid on loans. A bank pays out at a lower interest rate on deposits and receives a higher interest rate on loans. The difference between these rates represents the bank's net income. Banks also generate non-interest income from service fees for Retail and Business banking products, transactional fees, or other non-traditional services such as Trust and Wealth Management consulting, Insurance, Cash Management services, Mortgage loan closing costs and points.