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Functions of Commercial Banks

INTRODUCTION

Banking occupies one of the most important positions in the modern economic world. It is necessary for trade and industry. Hence it is one of the great agencies of commerce. Although banking in one form or another has been in existence from very early times, modern banking is of recent origin. It is one of the results of the Industrial Revolution and the child of economic necessity. Its presence is very helpful to the economic activity and industrial progress of a country..
Meaning
A commercial bank is a profit-seeking business firm, dealing in money and credit. It is a financial institution dealing in money in the sense that it accepts deposits of money from the public to keep them in its custody for safety. So also, it deals in credit, i.e., it creates credit by making advances out of the funds received as deposits to needy people. It thus, functions as a mobiliser of saving in the economy. A bank is, therefore like a reservoir into which flow the savings, the idle surplus money of households and from which loans are given on interest to businessmen and others who need them for investment or productive uses.
Definition of a Bank
The term ‘Bank’ has been defined in different are:
According to Walter Leaf “A bank is a person or corporation which holds itself out to receive from the public, deposits payable on a bank, “as a manufacture of credit and a machine for facilitating exchange.
According to Prof. Kinley, “A bank is an establishment which makes to individuals such advances of money as may be required and safely made, and to which individuals entrust money when not required by them for use.”
Thus, we can say that a bank is a financial institution which deals in debts and credits. It accepts deposits, lends money and also creates money. It bridges the gap between the savers and borrowers. Banks are not merely traders in money but also in an important sense manufacturers of money

FUNCTIONS OF COMMERCIAL BANKS

Functions of Commercial Banks
Commercial banks have to perform a variety developed and developing countries. These ar commercial banks. The modern banks perform a divided into two categories: (a) Primary function and (b) Secondary functions.

Primary Functions

Primary  banking  functions  of  the  commercial
  1. Acceptance of  deposits
  2. Advancing loans
  3. Creation of  credit
  4. Clearing of  cheques
  5. Financing foreign  trade
  6. Remittance of  funds
1. Acceptance of Deposits: Accepting deposits is the primary function of a commercial bank mobilise savings of the household sector. Banks generally accept three types of deposits viz., (a) Current Deposits (b) Savings Deposits, and (c) Fixed Deposits
(a) Current Deposits: These deposits are also known as demand deposits. These deposits can be withdrawn at any time. Generally, no interest is allowed on current deposits, and in case, the customer is required to leave a minimum balance undrawn with the bank. Cheques are used to withdraw the mount.
These deposits are kept by businessmen and industrialists who receive and make large payments through banks. The bank levies certain incidental charges on the customer for the services rendered by it.
(b) Savings Deposits: This is meant mainly for professional men and middle class people to help them deposit their small savings. It can be opened without any introduction. Money can be deposited at any time but the maximum cannot go beyond a certain limit. There is a restriction on the amount that can be withdrawn at a particular time or during a week. If the customer wishes to withdraw more than the specified amount at any one time, he has to give prior notice. Interest is allowed on the credit balance of this account. The rate of interest is greater than the rate of interest on the current deposits and less than that on fixed deposit. This system greatly encourages the habit of thrift or savings.
(c) Fixed Deposits: These deposits are also known as time deposits. These deposits cannot be withdrawn before the expiry of the period for which they are deposited or without giving a prior notice for withdrawal. If the depositor is in need of money, he has to borrow on the security of this account and pay a slightly higher rate of interest to the bank. They are attracted by the payment of interest which
is usually higher for longer period. Fixed deposits are liked by depositors both for their safety and as well as for their interest. In India, they are accepted between three months and ten years.
2. Advancing Loans: The second primary function of a commercial bank is to make loans and advances to all types of persons, particularly to businessmen and entrepreneurs. Loans are made against personal security, gold and silver, stocks of goods and other assets. The most common way of lending is by:
(a) Overdraft Facilities: In this case, the depositor in a current account is allowed to draw over and above his account up to a previously agreed limit. Suppose a businessman has only Rs. 30,000/- in his current account in a bank but requires Rs. 60,000/- to meet his expenses. He may approach his bank and borrow the additional amount of Rs. 30,000/-. The bank allows the customer to overdraw his account through cheques. The bank, however, charges interest only on the amount overdrawn from the account. This type of loan is very popular with the Indian businessmen.
(b) Cash Credit: Under this account, the bank gives loans to the borrowers against certain security. But the entire loan is not given at one particular time, instead the amount is credited into his account in the bank; but under emergency cash will be given. The borrower is required to pay interest only on the amount of credit availed to him. He will be allowed to withdraw small sums of money according to his requirements through cheques, but he cannot exceed the credit limit allowed to him. Besides, the bank can also give specified loan to a person, for a firm against some collateral security. The bank can recall such loans at its option.
(c) Discounting Bills of Exchange: This is another type of lending which is very popular with the modern banks. The holder of a bill can get it discounted by the bank, when he is in need of money. After deducting its commission, the bank pays the present price of the bill to the holder. Such bills form good investment for a bank. They provide a very liquid asset which can be quickly turned into cash. The commercial banks can re-discount, the discounted bills with the central banks when they are in need of money. These bills are safe and secured bills. When the bill matures the bank can secure its payment from the party which had accepted the bill.
(d) Money at Call: Bank also grant loans for a very short period, generally not exceeding 7 days to the borrowers, usually dealers or brokers in stock exchange markets against collateral securities like stock or equity shares, debentures, etc., offered by them. Such advances are repayable immediately at short notice hence, they are  described as money at call or call money.

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