• What services would you expect a retail or commercial bank to offer?
• What is the difference between retail banking and investment banking?
• How do commercial banks make money?
Reading 1: Commercial and investment banking
1 Liar's Poker is Michael Lewis's very funny book about working as an investment banker in New York and London. In this extract, he explains why he didn't want to become a commercial or retail banker. Read the text and explain in your own words what Lewis is saying about:
... in 1934, American lawmakers had stripped investment banking out from commercial banking. Investment bankers now underwrote securities, such as stocks and bonds. Commercial bankers
, like Citibank, took deposits and made loans.... After Glass-Steagall most people became investment bankers. Now I didn't actually know any commercial· bankers, but a commercial banker was reputed to be just an ordinary American businessman with ordinary American ambitions. He lent a few, hundred million dollars each day to South American countries. But really, he meant no harm. He was only doing what he was told to do by someone higher up in an endless chain of command .... He had a wife, a station wagon
, 2.2 children, and a dog that brought him his slippers when he returned home from work at six.... An investment banker was a breed apart, a member of a master race of deal makers. He possessed vast, almost unimaginable
, talent and ambition. If he had a dog it snarled. He had two little red sports cars yet wanted four.
To get them, he was, for a man in a suit, surprisingly willing to cause trouble. '
2 Find words or phrases in the text that mean the following:
2 generally considered to be
didn't want to cause trouble for other people
a big hierarchy of directors and managers
special; different from other people
6 extremely big
3 'He lent a few hundred million dollars each day to South American countries.' This is an exaggeration.
What other exaggerations or jokes can you find in the text?
Which area would you prefer to work in- commercial banking or investment banking? Why?
You are going to listen to Peter Sinclair, who we heard in Unit 1,
talking about retail banking. Before you listen, check your understanding of the words and phrases in the box by matching them with their definitions (1-7].
assets , currency
, income, lucrative, national income, liabilities, trend
1 a general development or change in a situation or in people's behaviour
2 all the money received by a person during a particular period
3 anything of value owned by a business; for a bank, the loans it has made
4 money that a company will have to pay to someone else one day; for a bank, its deposits
5 profitable (describes an activity that makes a profit]
6 the money earned by a country's people in a particular period
the money used in a particular country
Listen to Peter Sinclair talking about retail banking. According to what he says, is retail banking in decline? (3)
Listen again and look at the following statements. Are they true or false
, according to Peter Sinclair?
1 In the past, people used to keep more money in cash.
2 Because of retail banks, national income is increasing in developing countries.
3 Some people think that investment banking is more exciting than retail banking.
4 Investment banking is more profitable than retail banking.
5 There is more risk involved in investment banking than retail banking.
• How has commercial or retail banking changed since the 1980s?
• How do you think it will develop in the next few years?
1 Read the web page below advertising online banking, and complete the sentences overleaf.
Because you have access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
With internet banking you can:
Check your balance whenever you want.
Pay bills without writing cheques or queuing at the bank.
Transfer money between your current account and your savings account.
Print a statement at any time.
Set up, change and delete your standing orders.
View and cancel direct debits.
Apply for a loan.
Apply for a new or increased overdraft.
Order foreign currency or traveller's cheques.
1 A is an instruction to a bank to pay varying sums of money to another account on particular dates.
2 A pays interest but usually has limits as to how much money can be withdrawn during a certain period oftime.
3 A lists the recent debits and credits in a bank account.
4 An is an arrangement allowing someone to borrow money by withdrawing more than they have deposited in their account, up to a certain limit.
5 A pays no or little interest, but usually allows the holder to withdraw cash or pay cheques without any restrictions.
6 A is an amount of money borrowed from a bank for a fixed period.
7 A is the amount of money in a bank account at a particular time.
8 A is an instruction to a bank to pay regular, fixed sums of money to another account.
Reading 2: The future of bank branches
1 Read the article about retail banking from the Financial Times. What belief does the research show to be untrue?
Banks to rely on branches to drive growth
By Jane Croft
Banks will rely on branches to drive future growth rather than the internet, according to new research.
A study of 2,709 customers by Deloitte & Touche, the professional services firm, showed that the bank branch is the preferred channel for 52 per cent of customers interviewed. Only 16 per cent preferred to bank using the telephone and 8 per cent used the internet.
The study also showed that the bank branch is preferred by 45 per cent of customers in the affluent AB social group - contradicting the notion that sophisticated customers avoid branches.
Nick Sandall, retail financial services partner at Deloitte & Touche, said he believed that the main banks in the UK were planning to reverse a decade of under-investment in branches by putting the network at the heart of their strategy.
'Although some banks, such as Abbey National, are ahead of the game in their efforts to revolutionise the way in which they use branches to reach the consumer, we expect all banks to invest substantially in reshaping their branch networks and the activities within,' he said.
Deloitte & Touche believed that the successful retail bank of the future needed to give careful consideration to areas such as branch design, staffing and location.
Abbey National, which has introduced Costa coffee shops into some of its branches, reports that banking product sales have increased in these locations.
2 Which of the words and phrases in the article could be replaced with the following?
1 decisions on types and numbers of employees
2 in advance of competitors
3 make business increase in the years to come
5 spend a lot of money on
ten years of insufficient spending
3 Read the article again and answer the following questions.
What have the banks not done during the past ten years?
2 What are banks expected to do in the future?
3 What has helped one bank to increase product sales in some branches?