Retail banking is, however, quite broad in nature – it refers to the dealing of commercial banks with individual customers, both on liabilities and assets sides of the balance sheet. Fixed, current / savings accounts on the liabilities side; and mortgages, loans (e.g., personal, housing, auto, and educational) on the assets side, are the more important of the products offered by banks. Related ancillary services include credit cards, or depository services. Retail banking refers to provision of banking services to individuals and small business where the financial institutions are dealing with large number of low value transactions. This is in contrast to wholesale banking where the customers are large, often multinational companies, governments and government enterprise, and the financial institution deal in small numbers of high value transactions.
The concept is not new to banks but is now viewed as an important and attractive market segment that offers opportunities for growth and profits. Retail banking and retail lending are often used as synonyms but in fact, the later is just the part of retail banking. In retail banking all the needs of individual customers are taken care of in a well-integrated manner.
Today’s retail banking sector is characterized by three basic characteristics:
- Multiple products (deposits, credit cards, insurance, investments and securities)
- Multiple channels of distribution (call center, branch, internet)
- Multiple customer groups (consumer, small business, and corporate).
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