Banking and FinanceIssue 03 - 2023MAGAZINE
GBO_ banking ecosystem

Decoding the banking ecosystem

Specialized divisions within commercial banks typically perform investment banking functions.

Central banks are the primary monetary authorities of a country or a group of countries (European Central Bank for the European Union member countries). These institutions are responsible for formulating and implementing monetary policies, maintaining price stability, and promoting the overall strength and soundness of the financial system. Central banks are typically established by governments and operate independently to ensure their effectiveness and credibility.

Commercial banks are privately owned financial institutions that cater to the financial needs of individuals and businesses. These profit-oriented entities play a crucial role in the economy by facilitating the flow of funds. Standard services offered by these banks include accepting deposits, granting loans, providing credit facilities, facilitating payments, and offering various financial products.

The relationship between central and commercial banks is complex and multifaceted. This can be summarized in the following points.

Central banks have the authority to set and implement monetary policies. They control the money supply, manage interest rates, and regulate the overall credit availability in the economy. Commercial banks play a crucial role in the successful transmission and implementation of these monetary policies. They borrow funds from the central banks, and the interest rates set by the latter influence the ratio at which commercial banks lend to their customers.

Central banks also act as lenders of last resort to commercial banks during financial distress or liquidity shortages. They provide emergency funding to solvent but illiquid banks to maintain financial stability. This function helps ensure the strength of the banking system.

Central banks are responsible for regulating and supervising commercial banks. They set prudential regulations, such as capital adequacy requirements and risk management standards, to ensure the safety and soundness of the banking system. Central banks also conduct regular inspections and audits to monitor the financial health of commercial banks and enforce compliance with regulations.

Central banks are also entrusted to oversee and operate a country’s payment and settlement systems. Commercial banks rely on these systems for efficient and secure fund transfers between accounts. Central banks establish payment system rules and regulations to ensure smooth functioning and reduce systemic risks.

These apex banks possess the sole authority to issue and control the national currency. They supply commercial banks with physical cash and maintain reserves of commercial banks to facilitate their day-to-day operations. Commercial banks hold accounts with the central bank, and these reserves play a crucial role in determining a bank’s liquidity and ability to meet its obligations.

It is important to note that the specific relationship between a central bank and commercial banks can vary across countries and jurisdictions, depending on the legal and regulatory frameworks in place.

Key functions of a commercial bank

Commercial banks accept deposits from individuals, businesses, and other entities. They offer various deposit accounts, such as savings, current, and fixed deposit accounts. Depositors can store their money in these accounts and have the ability to withdraw funds as needed. Banks may also pay interest on certain types of deposits.

One of the primary functions of commercial banks is to provide loans and credit facilities to borrowers. Banks evaluate the creditworthiness of individuals, businesses, and other organizations and grant loans based on their assessment. This lending function supports economic activities by providing funds for investment, business expansion, housing, and consumer purchases.

Also, these lending bodies facilitate the smooth transfer of funds by providing payment and settlement services. They issue and process checks, offer electronic fund transfers, and provide debit and credit card services. Banks act as intermediaries in payment transactions, ensuring money’s secure and efficient movement between accounts of individuals/businesses.

Commercial banks also act as intermediaries between depositors and borrowers. They collect funds from depositors and channel these funds to borrowers needing financing. By matching the surplus funds of depositors with the deficit funds required by borrowers, banks play a crucial role in efficiently allocating financial resources to the economy.

These lending institutes also facilitate foreign exchange transactions for individuals and businesses engaged in international trade and investment. They offer currency exchange services, enable global money transfers, and provide foreign exchange hedging products to manage currency risk.

Some commercial banks engage in investment banking activities, which include underwriting securities issuances, facilitating mergers and acquisitions, providing advisory services, and assisting with capital raising for corporations and governments. Specialized divisions within commercial banks typically perform investment banking functions.

Apart from the above roles and operational responsibilities, these banks often provide wealth management services to high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and other commercial institutions. These services may include investment advice, portfolio management, retirement, and estate planning. Banks also offer financial advisory services to clients, helping them make informed decisions regarding their financial goals and investment strategies.

Commercial banks actively manage risks associated with their operations. They have risk management departments that identify, measure, and mitigate various types of risks, including credit, market, liquidity, and operational risks. Banks employ risk management techniques and strategies to ensure the safety and soundness of their operations.

It is worth noting that the specific range of services offered by commercial banks may vary depending on factors such as the size of the bank, its geographical location, and the regulatory environment in which it operates.

Connections between central and commercial banks

Let’s take the banking system of the world’s largest economy, the United States, as a case study for this article.

The Federal Reserve System, which is the country’s central bank, collaborates closely with commercial banks to carry out monetary policy reforms, monitoring of lending bodies, and ensuring financial stability. The Federal Reserve regulates commercial banks in the United States, and they cooperate on several projects. Now let’s discuss the banking structure of the European Union.

In charge of managing monetary policy and preserving financial stability inside the Eurozone, the European Central Bank (ECB) is essential. The ECB closely collaborates with commercial banks in the Eurozone to ensure regulatory adherence and to jointly address issues with monetary policy and financial stability.

Then comes the United Kingdom, where its central bank, the Bank of England works closely with commercial banks to carry out monetary policy reforms, uphold financial stability, and regulate the industry. The Bank of England’s regulatory framework and involvement with commercial banks are crucial to guarantee a robust financial system within the European country.

The interaction and stability of the financial system depend significantly on the link between central and commercial banks. Collaboration between these organizations is essential for the efficient application of monetary policies, the preservation of financial stability, and the smooth operation of the economy. Despite the difficulties and problems, the relationship is still vital, and resolving them will result in future financial systems that are stronger and more resilient.

In conclusion, central and commercial banks have a complex and interconnected relationship within the financial system. As the primary monetary authorities, central banks are responsible for formulating and implementing monetary policy, maintaining financial stability, and regulating the banking sector. On the other hand, commercial banks provide a wide range of banking services to individuals, businesses, and other organizations.

Central and commercial banks’ relationships involve collaboration and cooperation in various areas. Central banks rely on commercial banks to transmit and implement monetary policy and maintain the banking system’s stability. Commercial banks, in turn, depend on central banks for liquidity support, regulatory guidance, and oversight.

The roles and functions of commercial banks complement the objectives of central banks. Commercial banks act as intermediaries, mobilizing funds from depositors and channelling them to borrowers, which supports economic growth and development. They also facilitate payments, provide credit, and offer financial services that contribute to the overall functioning of the economy.

Effective coordination and communication between central and commercial banks are crucial for achieving monetary stability, financial soundness, and economic prosperity. Through regulation, supervision, and collaboration, central and commercial banks collaborate to allocate resources efficiently, mitigate risks, and foster a secure and resilient financial system.

As the financial landscape evolves and new challenges arise, the relationship between central and commercial banks continues to adapt and grow. Constant dialogue and cooperation between these institutions are essential to address emerging issues, promote financial inclusion, and support sustainable economic growth across the globe.

Related posts

Amid climate change concerns, global fossil fuel use accelerates

GBO Correspondent

Why Hong Kong elites are buying property in Japan

GBO Correspondent

Energy Crisis: Is Europe Prepared?

GBO Correspondent