How a Commercial Bank Functions?

Commercial banks have to perform a variety of functions which are common to both developed and developing countries. These are known as ‘General Banking’ functions of the commercial banks. The modern banks perform a variety of functions.

These can be broadly divided into two categories:

(a) Primary functions

(b) Secondary functions.

Primary Functions

Primary banking functions of the commercial banks include:

1. Acceptance of deposits

2. Advancing loans

3. Creation of credit

4. Clearing of cheques

5. Financing foreign trade

6. Remittance of funds

Secondary Functions

Secondary banking functions of the commercial banks include:

1. Agency Services

2. General Utility Services

Fulfilment of Socio-Economic Objectives

In recent years, commercial banks, particularly in developing countries, have been called upon to help achieve certain socio-economic objectives laid down by the state. For example, the nationalized banks in India have framed special innovative schemes of credit to help small agriculturists, village and cottage industries, retailers, artisans, the self employed persons through loans and advances at concessional rates of interest.

Under the Differential Interest Scheme (D.I.S.) the nationalized banks in India advance loans to persons belonging to scheduled tribes, tailors, rickshaw-walas, shoe-makers at the concessional rate of 4 per cent per annum. This does not cover even the cost of the funds made available to these priority sectors. Banking is, thus, being used to subserve the national policy objectives of reducing inequalities of income and wealth, removal of poverty and elimination of unemployment in the country.

It is clear from the above that banks help development of trade and industry in the country. They encourage habits of thrift and saving. They help capital formation in the country. They lend money to traders and manufacturers. In the modern world, banks are to be considered not merely as dealers in money but also the leaders in economic development.

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