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Banks are financial institutions that accept public deposits and create credit. Lending activities can be carried out directly or indirectly through the capital market. As banks are very important to a country's financial stability, they are under strict supervision in most countries. Most countries have established a system called partial reserve, under which the current assets held by banks are only a part of their current liabilities. In addition to other regulations designed to ensure liquidity, banks generally comply with minimum capital requirements in accordance with a series of international capital standards such as the Basel Accords.

Banking in the modern sense developed in the prosperous Italian Renaissance cities in the 14th century, but in many ways, it is the continuation of the concepts and concepts of credit and loan originated from the ancient world. Banking has played a central role in the history of banking for many centuries, including Medici, Fuggers, welsers, berenbergs and Rothschilds. The oldest existing retail bank is Banca Monte Dei Paschi Di in Siena, while the oldest commercial bank is Berenberg bank.

The term "bank" comes from the Bank of France, the Bank of Italy, the Bank of Germany, the Bank of bench and counter. In the Renaissance, benches were used as temporary desks or exchange desks for Jewish Florentine bankers who used to trade on green cloth covered desks.

The definition of a bank varies by country. For more information, see the relevant country page below.

Under British common law, a banker is a person who carries on banking business by opening a current account for his clients, paying checks drawn on him and collecting checks for his clients.

In most common law jurisdictions, the bill of Exchange Act codifies the law relating to negotiable instruments, including instruments, and it contains a legal definition of the term "banker": a banker includes a group of persons, whether incorporated or not, engaged in banking business "(Section 2, interpretation). Although this definition seems to be circular, it is actually valid because it ensures that the legal basis for bank transactions (such as cheques) does not depend on the structure or regulatory approach of the bank.

A bank acts as a payment agent by executing a check or a current account for a customer, paying checks drawn by the customer in the bank, and collecting checks deposited into the customer's current account. Banks also make payments to customers through other payment methods (such as ACh, wire or wire transfer, EFTPOS and ATM).

A bank borrows money by accepting money deposited in a current account, accepting time deposits, and issuing debt securities, such as notes and bonds. The bank borrows money by making advances to customers in current accounts, providing installment loans and investing in marketable debt securities and other forms of loans.

Banks provide different payment services, and most enterprises and individuals believe that bank accounts are essential. Non banks (e.g. remittance companies) that provide remittance services are generally not considered sufficient to replace bank accounts.

Banks can create new capital when they lend. New loans across the banking system generate new deposits elsewhere in the system. Generally, the money supply is increased by borrowing behavior, and when the speed of repayment of loans is faster than the speed of generating new loans, the money supply will decrease. The increase in the UK's money supply between 1997 and 2007 was mainly due to an increase in bank lending, which pushed up property prices and increased private debt. In terms of money supply M4, the UK's total economy increased from 750 billion euros to 170 billion euros between 1997 and 2007, most of which was caused by bank loans. If all banks increase lending together, they can expect new deposits to be returned to them, and the amount of money in the economy will increase. Too many or high-risk loans may cause borrowers to default, banks to become more cautious, so loans are reduced, so capital is reduced, so the economy can go from boom to bust like the UK and many other Western economies after 2007.