The Financial Services Industry

Financial services

Financial services are a broad group of industries that offer products and services to consumers, businesses and the government. They include banks, credit unions, investment firms, credit-card companies, mortgage lenders and even some insurance companies. Financial services provide a vital part of the economy, allowing individuals to make big purchases and save for future needs. They also allow for a free flow of capital and market liquidity, which helps the economy grow.

The industry can seem very vast, with countless opportunities and areas to specialize in. In fact, it wasn’t always this way — until recently each sector of the industry more or less stuck to its own niche. For example, banks used to only provide checking and savings accounts, loan associations provided mortgages, and brokerage companies offered investment opportunities.

Today, however, many banks and other financial institutions have expanded their offerings and now provide a wide range of services to customers. One of the most popular is consumer finance, which includes credit card services like Visa and MasterCard as well as mortgage lenders and personal and student loans.

Another large area of the industry is investment services, which includes things like hedge fund management and advisory and wealth management services. Finally, there are a variety of regulatory bodies, which oversee different aspects of the financial services industry to ensure transparency and fairness for clients. These include independent agencies, such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.