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18 functions of Bank (central and commercial)

This post covers the functions of banks.

here you will learn

  • What is bank
  • Types of bank
  • functions of the Central Bank
  • functions of Commercial Banks
    • primary functions
    • secondary functions
      • Agency functions of  commercial banks
      • General Utility Functions of commercial banks
  • etc.

let’s get started

What is bank

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Bank can simply be defined as an entity that is engaged in the banking business.

However In the case of United Dominions Trust Ltd V. Kirkwood bank is defined to mean cooperation that accepts money on current, accounts, and paycheques to drown upon such accounts on demand and collect cheques for customers.

Read also: History of banking

Types of Bank

Generally, there are two major types of banks i.e Central banks and Commercial Banks.

It is true that a bank is a place where people keep their money.

However, it will be wrong for us to confine ourselves to that view because apart from that there are a lot more functions that banks can perform.

Functions of Bank

Here the functions of the bank are divided according to the types;

Meaning and functions of Central Bank?

There is no single definition of what is a Central Bank; a Central Bank can well be defined based on its functions. The following are the functions of a Central Bank.

  1. The central bank is the bank that has the mandate to issue the national currency.
  2. The central bank regulates and supervises banks and financial institutions including mortgage financing, development financing, lease financing, licensing, and revocation of licenses.
  3. The central bank formulates, implements, and is responsible for monetary policy, including exchange rate policy
  4. The central bank is the lender of the last resort. When saying the lender of the last resort it implies that the central bank assumes the responsibility of meeting all reasonable demands for accommodation of commercial banks in times of difficulty and crisis.

Meaning and functions of Commercial Banks

Commercial Banks are all banks that are engaged in functions that are distinct from the functions of the central bank. The major aim of commercial banks is to generate profit for their shareholders.

Commercial banks perform both primary functions (banking services) and secondary functions (non-banking services)

Primary Functions of commercial banks

Primary functions of commercial are those functions that are strictly banking services and can be done by the bank only and not other financial institutions.

The primary Functions of commercial banks include;

  1. To collects deposits from the public i.e Saving Deposits, Fixed Deposits, Current Deposits, and Recurring Deposits. These are what are sometimes referred to as accounts in banking.
  2. To grant loans and Advances in form of the Overdraft facility, Cash Credits, or Discounting of the Bill of Exchange.

Secondary Functions of commercial banks

Secondary functions of commercial banks are those functions that are non-banking services that can also be done by other financial institutions.

The common secondary functions of commercial banks are agency functions and general utility functions.

Agency functions of  commercial banks

Commercial banks perform the following agency functions.

  1. Collection of Cheques
  2. Periodic Payments
  3. Portfolio Management
  4. Periodic Collections
  5. They act as trustees, executors, advisors, and administrators on behalf of their clients.

General Utility Functions of commercial banks

  1. Issue of Drafts and Letters of Credits
  2. Locker Facility
  3. Underwriting of Shares
  4. Dealing in Foreign Exchange
  5. Project Reports
  6. Participate in different Social Welfare Programmes
  7. It acts as a referee to the financial standing of customers. It collects creditworthiness information about clients of its customers.
  8. It provides market information to its customers, etc. It provides a travelers’ cheque facility.


Ellinger & Lomnicker(1994) “Modern banking law”; 2nd ed Publ. info. – Oxford: Clarendon Press,

Hapgood, M.(2007),  Paget’s Law  of Banking, 13th  ed; Lexis Nexis Butterworths, London

Khubchandan, B.S(2007), Practice & Law of Banking for Macmillan   India Ltd, New Delhi.

Isack Kimaro
Isack Kimaro

Isack Kimaro, a lawyer, Creative Writer and self-taught SEO expert has been a prominent author of law-related topics since 2017. Through hard work, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of knowledge, Isack has successfully navigated the legal industry by providing valuable and easy-to-understand legal information to 500,000+ individuals of all levels of understanding.