Financial services refer to a number of different tools that are used in a country’s financial system. They include banking, borrowing and saving money. Financial services are important because they contribute to economic growth and stability in countries around the world. The industry is also home to a wide range of companies that provide products like credit cards, mortgages, equity investments and debt resolution services.
It seems like the financial services industry is all-encompassing today, but it wasn’t always this way. Before the 1970s, each sector of financial services stayed within its own specialty. Banks offered checking and savings accounts, while loan associations provided mortgages and other loans. Mutual fund and brokerage companies provided investment opportunities, while credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard specialized in that particular area of the market.
As consumers shifted their spending habits to electronic payment methods, financial services evolved to keep up with demand. The industry now includes credit card issuers and networks, digital wallet providers, wire transfer services, exchanges that facilitate stock and derivative trades, and global payment processing companies.
Regulatory bodies are also part of the financial services industry, as they oversee various aspects of the industry to ensure it is operating fairly and with transparency. Often, these entities are independent from the financial institutions they regulate and serve as watchdogs for consumers. Those interested in becoming professionals in the field can expect to undergo extensive training and mentoring from their employers, as well as ongoing education.