Banks have been around for hundreds of years in one form or another. They function as the heart of an economy by pumping money throughout various sectors of an economy. Mortgages, auto loans, student loans, savings bonds, and stocks wouldn't be possible with a proper banking system put into place. Banks make money by charging interest on money they lend to individuals and businesses.
The United States has by far the most banks in the world, reaching over 7,500 (and 75,000 branches) in 2005. Since the advent of the Internet, online banking has become a popular choice for many people looking for a convenient way to handle their banking activities via the Internet. Most banks now offer online services for their customers.
Banks are tightly regulated by government agencies, such as the FDIC, FFIEC, OCC, and OTS – all of which monitor banking activities to ensure proper utilization of customer funds. This information is readily available across the Internet thanks to blogs dedicated to the banking industry and consumer protection.