Financial services are a broad group of economic services that are provided by the finance industry. They include companies like banks, credit-card companies, and credit unions. These services enable individuals and businesses to purchase goods and services. However, not all financial services are the same. In the United States, credit unions, for example, offer a wide variety of products.
Financial services include everything from checking and savings accounts to mortgages and auto loans. Some of these companies also provide debt relief for people who are in too much debt. Financial services also encompass financial market utilities, including stock exchanges, clearing houses, derivatives, and commodity exchanges. They also provide payment systems, including real-time gross settlement systems, to help people repay money they owe.
Providing financial services to consumers and businesses promotes economic growth by providing the capital necessary for consumption and investment. These services provide consumers with access to a wide variety of products and services, which in turn helps financial institutions earn profits and promote investment, production, and saving. Financial services also create demand for products, which means that producers must invest more to meet the demand.
As the financial services industry continues to change, legacy financial institutions must adapt or risk being outcompeted by more agile competitors. There are two major sectors of financial services: personal/consumer and corporate services. Some companies cover both categories, while others focus on one or the other. Nontraditional banks are gaining market share by offering features such as lower overdraft fees, higher APY accounts, and user-friendly apps.