Banking has a long and honourable history. Today, it encompasses a wide range of activities of varying degrees of complexity. Whatever the precise business undertaken by specific individual banks, the common denominator of all banking activities is that of bringing together those who require funding with those who possess surplus funding, and acting as a transmission mechanism for the processing of payments. That is in essence all that banks do, and while it isn't a complex service provision, it is nevertheless an important one. Societal and economic development worldwide relies on efficient banking service provision.

In this introductory chapter we describe the financial markets, the basic banking business model, and the concept of bank capital. We begin with a look at the business of banking. We then consider the different types of revenue generated by a bank, the concept of the banking book and the trading book, financial statements, and the concept of provisions. We also introduce the different products offered by banks to their customers.


The basic bank business model has remained unchanged ever since banks became an integral part of modern society.1 Of course, as it is more of an art than a science, the model parameters themselves can be set to suit the specific strategy of the individual bank, depending on whether the strategy operates at a higher or lower risk–reward profile. However, the basic model ...

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