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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Explain how banks act as intermediaries between savers and borrowers
  • Evaluate the relationship between banks, savings and loans, and credit unions
  • Analyze the causes of bankruptcy and recessions

The late bank robber named Willie Sutton was once asked why he robbed banks. He answered: “That’s where the money is.” While this may have been true at one time, from the perspective of modern economists, Sutton is both right and wrong. He is wrong because the overwhelming majority of money in the economy is not in the form of currency sitting in vaults or drawers at banks, waiting for a robber to appear. Most money is in the form of bank accounts, which exist only as electronic records on computers. From a broader perspective, however, the bank robber was more right than he may have known. Banking is intimately interconnected with money and consequently, with the broader economy.

Banks make it far easier for a complex economy to carry out the extraordinary range of transactions that occur in goods, labor, and financial capital markets. Imagine for a moment what the economy would be like if all payments had to be made in cash. When shopping for a large purchase or going on vacation you might need to carry hundreds of dollars in a pocket or purse. Even small businesses would need stockpiles of cash to pay workers and to purchase supplies. A bank allows people and businesses to store this money in either a checking account or savings account, for example, and then withdraw this money as needed through the use of a direct withdrawal, writing a check, or using a debit card.

Banks are a critical intermediary in what is called the payment system    , which helps an economy exchange goods and services for money or other financial assets. Also, those with extra money that they would like to save can store their money in a bank rather than look for an individual that is willing to borrow it from them and then repay them at a later date. Those who want to borrow money can go directly to a bank rather than trying to find someone to lend them cash Transaction costs are the costs associated with finding a lender or a borrower for this money. Thus, banks lower transactions costs and act as financial intermediaries—they bring savers and borrowers together. Along with making transactions much safer and easier, banks also play a key role in the creation of money.

Banks as financial intermediaries

An “intermediary” is one who stands between two other parties. Banks are a financial intermediary    —that is, an institution that operates between a saver who deposits money in a bank and a borrower who receives a loan from that bank. Financial intermediaries include other institutions in the financial market such as insurance companies and pension funds, but they will not be included in this discussion because they are not considered to be depository institutions , which are institutions that accept money deposits and then use these to make loans. All the funds deposited are mingled in one big pool, which is then loaned out. [link] illustrates the position of banks as financial intermediaries, with deposits flowing into a bank and loans flowing out. Of course, when banks make loans to firms, the banks will try to funnel financial capital to healthy businesses that have good prospects for repaying the loans, not to firms that are suffering losses and may be unable to repay.

Questions & Answers

why is the marginal curve u shaped
jake Reply
what is demand function
uju Reply
demand function is the mathematical representation of price and quantity demanded of goods and services at various prices at a given time .
King
Demand function is an equation which shows the mathematical relationship between the quantity demanded of a good and the values of the various determinants of demand.
Bon
why would division of labour without trade not work
Frederick Reply
as far there is an output as a goal... trade can't be exempted... because the sole reason for division of labour is for an effective and efficient output or outcome.. with such exchange trade has taken place. .
Agha-Aiguokhian
Please what is paradox of value
rakia
what is the features of monopoly market? how it is different from monopolistic market?
alisha
how does scarcity described as the efficient byway to allocate resources in a free market?
God Reply
scarcity gives or births a rational thinking to an individual or state economy in the distribution of revenue or income to the right channels of their ends... assuming the market has the features of a free market (free entry and exit, close substitutes, market price control etc)
Agha-Aiguokhian
wath is the meaning the macro economics
Jimcaale Reply
What is the way out of Scarcity
Samuel
a state referenced economic study, the manner or behavioural pattern of a state choice in making economic decisions in satisfying their ends
Agha-Aiguokhian
Thanks brother
Samuel
when total utility is constant, marginal utility do what?
rasheed Reply
Why is it that whenever I ask a question no one hears me out
Dominic
😊😊
Konadu
This is deals with only 1producer 1producer 1consumer
Motasay Reply
Oligopoly
Gh
thanks for you answer
Qaasim
With two buyers n sellers
Motasay
nothing only I study
Qaasim
still oligopoly That is when there is a limited buyer and seller in the industry. There are no perfectly elastic market entry, that is for both the price taker and the seller
Gh
thanks for your advice
Qaasim
welcomed bro
Gh
we can ask our doubt also isn't
Rohit
Yea you can as well
Gh
Like "beauty opportunity cost lies in the eyes of the beholder"discuss with practical examples
Dominic
Criticism of scarcity definition
No Reply
life is all about scarcity. there is a big reason behind that
Hassan
tell me the whole
No
as we are Muslims
Hassan
so what
No
we believe that our Allah. the God of Universe is Examining each and every one on the planet this Scarcity. the only place there is no scarcity is Aakhiro Doomsday
Hassan
i want Explanation ?
No
theory
No
You have came back our book of Quran
Hassan
Make some of our basic needs not available. For example like if we need a particular drugs to cure a virus ohh disease because if the scarcity of it it may lead to death
Motasay
what men gdb
Jimcaale Reply
with men government demand price
Jimcaale
how to draw demand curve
Michael Reply
What are the distinction between trade off and opportunity cost?
Eric Reply
what is monopoly
Mary Reply
What are the sources of monopoly
Mary
Sources of Monopoly Power Monopoly power is influenced by the following factors: Barriers to entry Number of competitors Advertising Degree of product differentiation The larger and more expensive the barriers to entry the greater the monopoly power The smaller the number of competitors in th
edward
monopoly occurs when specific enterprise supplies goods and controls the market.
sade
i think the sources of monopoly are barriers to enrty and product differentiation.
sade
Monopoly is a market structure characterized by a single seller, selling a unique product in the market in which s/he faces no competition, as s/he is the sole seller of goods with no close substitute.
edward
Monopoly is a market structure where the production of goods and services coupled with price determination of such commodities are left in the hands of a sole producer. Such factors are; Perfectly inelastic competition, High market barricade, High cost of raw materials,
Gh
what is price discrimination monopoly
sandra Reply
Charging different sets of consumers different prirces for the same good or service, for reasons not involved in cost of production. There are 3 degrees of price discrimination.
Darren
what are the 3 degree
obed
hello
Oparaugo
What up guys
Divine
what are four sources of monopoly
dora Reply
examples of what cause demand and supply to shift to the left.
Verte Reply
hello
Konadu
hi
Yaman
how are you
Yaman
are you fine
Yaman
hii
Liya
Why is there a trade off between inflation and employment? Give a situation to clear it up please
Kurt

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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