About Financial Services

What is the industry about?

Functions of Financial Institutions

Financial services firms provide many different functions, including:

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How Money Works

What is the value of the industry in our communities?

What do investment banks actually do?

What is a hedge fund?

Industry History

Definition of “Financial Services”

Financial services are the economic services provided by the finance industry, which encompasses a broad range of businesses that manage money, including credit unions, banks, credit-card companies, insurance companies, accountancy companies, consumer-finance companies, stock brokerages, investment funds and some government-sponsored enterprises. [1]

Industry History

“Until the 1970s, the financial services industry consisted of a few well-defined and separate industries that dealt in money. These included banks and savings and loan associations for personal savings, checking accounts, and mortgages; brokerage houses, for investment in stocks, bonds and mutual funds; and credit card companies for consumer credit.” [2]

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act

The term became prevalent in the U.S. partly as a result of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of the 1990s, which enabled different types of companies operating in the U.S. financial services industry at that time to merge.

Terms of Art


  1. Financial Services: Getting the Goods” IMF 28 March 2012
  2. Financial Services Industry. Dictionary of American History, 2003, The Gale Group Inc.