b) In a country with a developed banking system there are different kinds of banks with widely varying activities: They are:
1. The Universal banks.Those banks (commonly found in Switzerland, West Germany and the Netherlands) are allowed to do almost anything financial, from lending other people's money to underwriting, advising on investments, stockbroking, etc. Some frown on universal banking in the belief that it creates too many conflicts of interest within one bank. Can a bank give advice on a share for which it is the underwriter and also broker and banker to the issuer? That question has not stopped foreigners from wanting a Swiss bank account and taking their Swiss banker's investment advice.
2. The ordinary deposit banks.These include the commercial or joint-stock banks, large and small, some private banks. All these have direct contact with the public which deposits money with them and draws cheques on them.
3. The savings banks.The chief function of these banks is explained by their name. In old times savings banks were banks which accepted only the deposits of small savers. They did no business with industry and provided no money-transmission service, had no cheque-drawing facilities. These distinctions between savings banks and other banks are now being eroded.
4. The merchant banks, or "acceptance houses".Merchant banks are British banks which concentrate on advising companies about raising new capital and about buying or selling other companies. They do a bit of lending too. Some of them also specialize in fund management. Merchant banking is the business carried out over the last two hundred years or so by a small number of London-based institutions. The origins of merchant banking in London lie in the 18th century.
The name "merchant bankers" refers to their origin as mercantile houses specializing in the export of British products and the import of products from foreign countries. This involved remitting money from one country to another, and the bill of exchange on London became the means of financing the import and export trades, which allowed the vendor and purchaser of traded goods to achieve liquidity; the role of the merchant was to put its name to or to "accept" a bill, which was then discounted in the market. The skill of the general merchant was to assess the credit of the purchaser whose bill it had accepted. Trade arid its finance continued to form the backbone of their business and the growing significance of their ability to provide credit transformed a number of general merchants into merchant banks, specializing in accepting bills. In doing so they assisted London to become the world's financial centre: the bill of exchange on a London accepting house, denominated in sterling, became a means of settlement in trade throughout the world.
Merchant banks maintained excellent connections with leading British companies and frequently joined their boards. As a result, from the 1950s a small number of merchant banks, in addition to their acceptance business, came to dominate the business of corporate issues in the form of offers for sale of formerly private companies to the public, rights issues of equities and debenture issues. In these issues merchant banks acted both as advisers and as primary underwriters in guaranteeing a sale price to the vendor. Merchant banks took full advantage of the development of the Eurocurrency markets in London in 1970s, and were amongst the most active syndicators of currency loans to the international banking community. Merchant banks have built up a substantial business as investment managers on behalf of UK institutions, such as pension funds, as well as overseas governments and major institutions worldwide. They played a leading role in developing the international investment management industry in London.
5. The consortium banks.A consortium bank is a bank owned by a group of other banks from a number of different countries, no one of which owns a majority share. Consortium banks were children of the Euromarket. Born in the 1970s they gave smaller banks a way into the Euromarket hand in hand with bigger bank partners. The advantage to the bigger banks lay in their easier access to the big domestic customers of the smaller banks.
Some consortium banks continue to thrive by staying at the forefront of new financial techniques, acting as a type of merchant bank, some other were gobbled up by one or other of their shareholders.
Words you may need:
universal bankуниверсальный банк
underwritingn андеррайтинг, гарантирование размещения (ценных бумаг)
frownv не одобрять, относиться отрицательно
to draw a cheque on a bankвыписать чек на банк
savings bankсберегательный банк
erodev размывать(ся), разрушать(ся)
fund managementуправление финансовыми средствами
London-basedрасположенный в Лондоне
mercantileadj коммерческий, торговый
to remit moneyпереводить деньги (по телеграфу)
vendorn торговец, продавец
backbonen хребет, основа
rights issues of equitiesвыпуск новых акций, предлагаемых акционерам компаний
debenturen облигация (акционерной компании)
consortium bankконсорциальный банк
majority shareконтрольный пакет акций
gobble v (зд.) поглощать (букв, пожирать)
Eх. 13. Read the dialogue, sum up its content and act it out:
Commercial Banks in Russia
Foreigner: As far as I know, Russia has a two-tier banking system.
Russian: Yes, our banking system consists of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) and commercial banks, which is typical of many countries in the market economy.
F.: How do your commercial banks operate? Is the regulatory control strong enough?
R.: Banking in Russia is regulated by the Law on Banks and Banking in the Russian Federation. As to the CBR, it is constantly strengthening its regulatory and supervisory role. For instance, now banks can start operating only after they get registered and obtain a license from the CBR.
F.: Your banking legislation provides for the existence of banks and credit institutions. How do they differ?
R.: Our credit institutions are only allowed to perform cash settlement operations, collect money and documents, buy and sell foreign currency.
F.: How are your banks run?
R.: Itdepends on the organizational and legal form of the bank. Banks with the authorized capital made up of contributions, have the status of limited liability societies. The founders' contributions may be in the form of money, property and other tangible assets. A joint-stock bank forms its authorized fund by issuing shares. The governing body in a bank is a meeting of the founders or shareholders. Between the meetings, this function is performed by the bank's council. They determine the bank's policy. Day-to-day management is carried out by the board, which is an executive body. The board is headed by the President. The board members determine the bank's structure and functions of its departments.
F.: In the West, bankers' services cover an enormous range of activities today. What about your banks?
R.: In principle, we offer practically the same services. All operations can be divided into active and passive. Passive operations are bank's resources consisting of a bank's own and outside funds. I mean the authorized capital, the reserve and special funds as well as the retained profit.
F.: But the bulk of a bank's resources are formed by outside resources, in other words, loans obtained by the bank and deposits.
R.: You are right. Speaking about active operations, I'd like to stress that they are placement operations aimed to get a profit and guarantee a bank's liquidity. They are cash, credit and investment operations.
F.: What operations prevail in the assets structure?
R.: Lending operations. Their share is the largest.
F.: Then the loan management departments must be most careful with applicants.
R.: They are. They study creditworthiness of applicants and their credit history most carefully before they give recommendations to lending operations departments.
F.: Banks sometimes follow a risky credit policy. Are your banks tempted by quick and easy profits?
R.: They are. Moreover, sometimes they infringe normative documents of the Central Bank, particularly about the capital and reserve requirements. Some banks also infringe rules for accounting and reporting and requirements for reserves for possible losses.
F.: What is the position of the Central Bank in this critical situation?
R.: Banks are controlled regularly for capital adequacy, asset quality and liquidity, I mean cash and "near cash" investments.
F.: Refinancing is a tested technique to regulate bank's liquidity. Your Central Bank arranges refinancing, doesn't it?
R.: Yes, it does. Refinancing is done by granting lombard credits, through sale and repurchase agreements (REPOs), and by crediting correspondent accounts of banks acting as primary dealers in the GKO market.
F.: I see that your financial sector is really developing at a great pace.
Words you may need:
credit institutionкредитная организация
cash settlement operationsрасчетно-кассовые операции
tangible assetsматериальные активы
active/passive operationsактивные/пассивные операции
outside fundsпривлеченные средства
retained profitнераспределенная прибыль
placementoperations размещение средств
primary dealerпервичный дилер, дилер по правительственным облигациями
credit history«кредитная история», досье заемщика
infringev нарушать (правила, законы и т.п.)
Ex. 14. Give extensive answers to these discussion questions:
1. What is the nature of banking? How do banks earn their living?
2. What services do banks offer to individuals/corporations?
3. What kinds of banks exist? Describe their activities.
4. How can an individual get a bank loan?
5. What does the stability of a bank depend on?
6. What are the functions of central banks?
7. In what way do the discount houses earn money?
8. How is banking developing these days?
9. How do banks obtain funds?
10. Describe the banking system of Russia.
In order to get prepared for participation in the class discussion of the questions, write a short essay on:
a) Services provided by banks.
b) Your attitude to the bank's work (see the main dialogue).
c) Different kinds of accounts opened by banks.
d) History of banking and its present-day developments.
e) The influence of modern technology on banking.
Ex. 15. Prepare a short talk on the following:
a) Explain how banks earn profit, how they act as financial intermediaries, how they create new money.
b) Have you ever turned to a bank either as a depositor or a borrower? Have you ever done business with banks offering intermediation services?
c) Do you have a credit card or a debit card? What was the most recent purchase you made with your cards? Describe the sequence of connected events with the use of the cards.
d) If you have a bank account and heard that your bank was not honouring its obligations towards depositors, what would you do about your account?