Financial services are the products, processes and institutions that serve the needs of individuals, businesses and governments in their money-related activities. They help people put their money to productive use, such as by acquiring a house or by investing in new technology.
The industry includes banks, brokers, mortgage lenders and more. It also involves insurance companies, securities traders and investors, Wall Street and many other firms that support the financial services sector.
Banks – The primary role of banks is to collect deposits from depositors, pool them and lend them to borrowers. This makes it possible for consumers to get access to cash when they need it, while also providing a safety net against inflation.
Brokers – These firms offer consumers investment opportunities in stocks, bonds and mutual funds. They may also offer wealth management and retirement planning services to high-net-worth clients, like those of wealthy families or a single individual.
Credit cards – These firms provide credit cards that allow customers to purchase goods or pay for services with their own money. They also offer other services, such as bill payment and merchant accounts that help businesses accept payments from their customers.
Insurance – This service is similar to banking, but covers the costs of unforeseen events that might occur in an individual’s life, such as an illness or a car accident. It also helps protect against losses, such as theft or fire.
The industry is highly dependent on information technology to manage all the complex financial processes that go on behind the scenes. It is a fast-paced environment that requires people who can work well under pressure to quickly adapt and become more efficient.