Bank and Nonbanks: The Horse Race Continues
Financial services have been provided by individuals and commercial enterprises at least since Biblical times. During the last few centuries, some business firms began to specialize by providing only financial services. Until recently, the specialization tended to be very narrow; some firms provided insurance; others home mortgage lending; and still others consumer lending. Even commercial banks, which now serve a wide range of commercial, household and government customers by intermediating across a wide range of financial products, for many years restricted themselves to commercial lending.