Financial Services

Financial services are the processes through which businesses and consumers obtain economic goods. They include all services related to money, including credit cards, mortgage loans and banking. They also include investment firms and providers of insurance. Financial services are an essential part of any economy and a key driver of economic growth.

Without them, people with savings might not have a way to find those who need to borrow, and companies that need funds to grow might have trouble finding investors. These firms, called intermediaries, make it easier to connect savers and borrowers. They also help to diversify risk by pooling cash from many savers into investments, so that if one fails it won’t cripple the whole group.

The largest financial services companies are banks, which offer deposit accounts and lending; private equity funds, which invest in promising new businesses in exchange for ownership stakes or profit participation; and venture capital providers, which supply seed money to start-ups in return for a share of the company’s future profits. Other important financial services are brokerage firms, which sell shares and other securities; payment service providers, which facilitate transactions by processing debit and credit card payments; and debt resolution services, which negotiate with creditors on behalf of consumers who can’t afford to pay their bills.

Providing access to affordable credit and other financial services helps families increase their incomes and take part in their local economies. They can purchase livestock, land and consumer durables, as well as build or improve their homes. They can also use their savings to start small businesses or seek medical treatment when needed. Some 2 billion people worldwide lack access to financial services.

While most people have some sort of credit card, most are unaware that the companies that process these transactions are considered to be financial services. This sector of the industry includes other types of credit-related companies, like loan originators and collection agencies. It also includes other support services, such as credit bureaus and bond ratings agencies. This sector of the industry is growing rapidly. It is estimated that by 2024 the industry will be worth over $9 trillion. It is expected that it will continue to expand because the need for these services is expanding globally, especially in emerging markets. The sector has been undergoing significant consolidation and regulation over the last decade, in an effort to improve efficiency and reduce risks. It is also adjusting to changing customer and shareholder demands, which are shifting toward higher rates of savings and lower returns on investment. This has led to a greater demand for electronic trading platforms and more sophisticated technology. This has caused some concern among investors, who worry about the security of these platforms. However, it is still a highly profitable industry for those who are able to stay ahead of the curve.