The Financial services industry is huge. Banks, brokers, mortgage lenders and more are all part of it. So too are insurance companies, securities traders, investors and Wall Street. This industry provides a crucial service to individuals, small businesses, large corporations and even the government. Without it, people with money to save would have trouble finding those who need to borrow. And those who are trying to minimize risk might not be able to invest in anything beyond basic necessities.
Financial services include the activities of depository institutions, credit-granting organizations, and the providers of critical financial utilities. These services help people buy and sell goods and services, transfer money between accounts, and provide loans and other credit-related products. They also support the financial infrastructure that enables the provision of financial services, such as payment systems (e.g., credit and debit cards) and the issuing of securities.
A key challenge is fostering trust between consumers and the financial services industry. Customers must trust that the advice they receive is sound and that the firms they work with will not take advantage of them. This is especially true for financial services that involve significant amounts of money, such as mortgage credit and life insurance policies. Because of this, many governments regulate the financial services industry to protect consumers. This includes overseeing licensing, regulation and supervision, which vary by country. It also requires that firms disclose key information about their products and services, such as cost and terms.