Retail Banking
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Retail Banking Basics

Retail banking, also known as consumer banking, is the provision of services by a bank to the general public, rather than to companies, corporations or other banks, which are often described as wholesale banking. Banking services which are regarded as retail include provision of savings and transactional accounts, mortgages, personal loans, debit cards, and credit cards. Retail banking is also distinguished from investment banking or commercial banking. It may also refer to a division or department of a bank which deals with individual customers.

In the U.S., the term commercial bank is used for a normal bank to distinguish it from an investment bank. After the Great Depression, the Glass-Steagall Act required normal banks to only engage in banking activities, while investment banks were limited to capital market activities. This distinction was repealed in the 1990s. Commercial bank can also refer to a bank or a division of a bank that mostly deals with deposits and loans from corporations or large businesses, as opposed to individual members of the public (retail banking).


A retail bank in Leeds, United Kingdom.

Typical retail banking services offered by banks include:

In some countries, such as the U.S., retail bank services also include more specialised accounts, such as:

Sub-types of retail banks


  • Tiwari, Rajnish and Buse, Stephan (2006): The German Banking Sector: Competition, Consolidation and Contentment, Hamburg University of Technology (TU Hamburg-Harburg)
  • Brunner, A., Decressin, J. / Hardy, D. / Kudela, B. (2004): Germanys Three-Pillar Banking System - Cross-Country Perspectives in Europe, Occasional Paper, International Monetary Fund, Washington DC 2004.
  • Retail Banker International - news, data, analysis and business information for the retail banking industry:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


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