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Commercial Banking vs Investment Banking

Commercial Banking vs Investment Banking

Commercial and investment banking share many aspects, but also have many fundamental differences. After a quick overview of commercial banking, we will build up to a full discussion of what I-banking entails. We’ll begin examining what this means by taking a look at what commercial banks do.

 Commercial Banks: A commercial bank may legally take deposits for current and savings accounts from consumers. Commercial banks must follow a myriad of regulations. The typical commercial banking process is fairly straightforward. You deposit money into your bank, and the bank loans that money to consumers and companies in need of capital (cash). You borrow to buy a house, finance a car, or finance an addition to your home. Companies borrow to finance the growth of their company or meet immediate cash needs. Companies that borrow from commercial banks can range in size from the dry cleaner on the corner to a multinational conglomerate.

 Private Contracts: Importantly, loans from commercial banks are structured as private legally binding contracts between two parties – the bank and you (or the bank and a company). Banks work with their clients to individually determine the terms of the loans, including the time to maturity and the interest rate charged. Your individual credit history (or credit risk profile) determines the amount you can borrow and how much interest you are charged.

Commercial banks thus collects funds and loan them to its customers for taking advantage of the large spread between their cost of funds (1 percent, for example) and their return on funds loaned (ranging from 5 to 14 percent).

Investment Banks: An investment bank operates differently. An investment bank does not have an inventory of cash deposits to lend as a commercial bank does. In essence, an investment bank acts as an intermediary, and matches sellers of stocks and bonds with buyers of stocks and bonds. Note, however, that companies use investment banks toward the same end as they use commercial banks. If a company needs capital, it may get a loan from a bank, or it may ask an investment bank to sell equity or debt (stocks or bonds). Because commercial banks already have funds available from their depositors and an investment bank does not, an I-bank must spend considerable time finding investors in order to obtain capital for its client.

 Public Securities: Investment banks typically sell public securities (as opposed private loan agreements). Technically, securities such as Microsoft stock or Tata Steel AAA bonds, represent a high degree of safety and are traded either on a public exchange or through an approved dealer. The dealer is the investment bank.

Commercial Banking vs Investment Banking

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