The first recognizable banks developed in medieval Italy - the term 'bank' deriving from the merchant's market place bench which in Italian was called a 'banco'. The best known example of a medieval bank was the Medici bank, which was established by the powerful and wealthy Medici family of Florence in 1397. It had branches and representatives throughout Europe. Many Italian merchants from Lombardy came to London at this time to set up in business as money lenders and the banking center of the City of London, where they settled, is still known as Lombard Street.
Today banking plays a vital role in our society and economy - the scale of transactions ranging from individual customers writing checks or using bank credit cards in shops and restaurants to enormous and complex payments by multinational companies across the world's great banking centers.
The banking industry is constantly changing and growing and banks that cannot keep up are quickly to lose their market position. The 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act had a lot to do with the way the banking industry now operates . The banking industry is following the idea of being bigger, faster and more. New legislation, new technology, bigger banks and changing customer preferences are all having an affect on the banking industry. Bank are becoming huge financial institutions offering everything from standard banking services, trust planning and insurance. (1)
The Federal Reserve supervises the following entities and has the statutory authority to take formal enforcement actions against them:
* State member banks
* Bank holding companies
* Nonbank subsidiaries of bank holding companies
* Edge and agreement corporations
* Branches and agencies of foreign banking organizations operating in the United States and their parent banks
* Officers, directors, employees, and certain other categories of individuals associated with the above banks, companies, and
organizations (referred to...