Bank (finance)

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This article is about the financial institution. For other uses of the term Bank, please see Bank (disambiguation).
(CC) Photo: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
BNP Paribas, as one of the world's largest financial institutions, is a familiar name in the French high street. This branch is in Metz.

A bank is an organisation that accepts deposits, i.e. money, and also lends funds. On a day-to-day basis, many people make use of banks to store their savings, obtain a loan such as a mortgage, exchange foreign currency, and withdraw or pay in cash. Banks, however, are often much bigger institutions than how they appear on the high street; some of them, such as BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank, are international groups which handle trillions of US dollars annually. Other banks, known as central banks, manage and print the currencies of countries. Examples include the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of England.

(CC) Photo: Wally Gobetz
The First Bank of the United States, created in 1791, was the first US central bank.