After the implementation of the Glass–Steagall Act, the U.S. Congress required that banks engage only in banking activities, whereas investment banks were limited to capital market activities. As the two no longer have to be under separate ownership under U.S. law, some use the term "commercial bank" to refer to a bank or a division of a bank primarily dealing with deposits and loans from corporations or large businesses. In some other jurisdictions, the strict separation of investment and commercial banking never applied. Commercial banking may also be seen as distinct from retail banking, which involves the provision of financial services direct to consumers. Many banks offer both commercial and retail banking services.(1.,2. slaids)
Origin of the word
The name bank derives from the Italian word banco "desk/bench", used during the Renaissance by Florentine bankers, who used to make their transactions above a desk covered by a green tablecloth. However, traces of banking activity can be found even in ancient times.
In fact, the word traces its origins back to the Ancient Roman Empire, where moneylenders would set up their stalls in the middle of enclosed courtyards called macella on a long bench called a bancu, from which the words banco and bank are derived. As a moneychanger, the merchant at the bancu did not so much invest money as merely convert the foreign currency into the only legal tender in Rome- that of the Imperial Mint.(3.slaids)
The role of commercial banks
Commercial banks engage in the following activities:
processing of payments by way of telegraphic transfer, internet banking, or other means
issuing bank drafts and bank cheques
accepting money on term deposit
lending money by overdraft, installment loan, or other...