Retail banking also known as Consumer Banking is the provision of services by a bank to individual consumers, rather than to companies, corporations or other banks. Services offered include savings and transactional accounts, mortgages, personal loans, debit cards, and credit cards. The term is generally used to distinguish these banking services from investment banking, commercial banking or wholesale banking. It may also be used to refer to a division or department of a bank dealing with retail customers.
In the US the term Commercial bank is used for a normal bank to distinguish it from an investment bank. After the great depression, through the Glass–Steagall Act, the U.S. Congress required that banks only engage in banking activities, whereas investment banks were limited to capital markets activities. This separation was repealed in the 1990s. Commercial bank can also refer to a bank or a division of a bank that mostly deals with deposits and loans from corporations or large businesses, as opposed to individual members of the public (retail banking).
A transaction account, checking account, or demand deposit account is a deposit account held at a bank or other financial institution which is available to the account owner “on demand” and is available for frequent and immediate access by the account owner or to others as the account owner may direct. Access may be in a variety of ways, such as cash withdrawals, use of cheques and debit by electronic transfer. In economic terms, the funds held in a transaction account are regarded as liquid funds.
Transaction accounts are generally used for the business or personal convenience of the account holder. They normally do not earn any or a high interest and the financial institution that maintains the account commonly charges account maintenance or transaction fees to the account holder.