Functions of Commercial Banks: Primary and Secondary Functions

What is Commercial Bank?

A commercial bank is a kind of financial institution that carries all the operations related to deposit and withdrawal of money for the general public, providing loans for investment, and other such activities. These banks are profit-making institutions and do business only to make a profit.

The two primary characteristics of a commercial bank are lending and borrowing. The bank receives the deposits and gives money to various projects to earn interest (profit). The rate of interest that a bank offers to the depositors is known as the borrowing rate, while the rate at which a bank lends money is known as the lending rate.

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Function of Commercial Bank:

The functions of commercial banks are classified into two main divisions.

(a) Primary functions 

 Accepts deposit : The bank takes deposits in the form of saving, current, and fixed deposits. The surplus balances collected from the firm and individuals are lent to the temporary requirements of the commercial transactions.

Provides loan and advances : Another critical function of this bank is to offer loans and advances to the entrepreneurs and business people, and collect interest. For every bank, it is the primary source of making profits. In this process, a bank retains a small number of deposits as a reserve and offers (lends) the remaining amount to the borrowers in demand loans, overdraft, cash credit, short-run loans, and more such banks.

Credit cash: When a customer is provided with credit or loan, they are not provided with liquid cash. First, a bank account is opened for the customer and then the money is transferred to the account. This process allows the bank to create money.

(b) Secondary functions 

 Discounting bills of exchange: It is a written agreement acknowledging the amount of money to be paid against the goods purchased at a given point of time in the future. The amount can also be cleared before the quoted time through a discounting method of a commercial bank.

Overdraft facility: It is an advance given to a customer by keeping the current account to overdraw up to the given limit.

 Purchasing and selling of the securities: The bank offers you with the facility of selling and buying the securities.

Locker facilities: A bank provides locker facilities to the customers to keep their valuables or documents safely. The banks charge a minimum of an annual fee for this service.

Paying and gathering the credit : It uses different instruments like a promissory note, cheques, and bill of exchange.

Types of Commercial Banks:

There are three different types of commercial banks.

 Private bank –: It is a type of commercial banks where private individuals and businesses own a majority of the share capital. All private banks are recorded as companies with limited liability. Such as  Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Bank, Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) Bank, Yes Bank, and more such banks.

 Public bank –: It is a type of bank that is nationalised, and the government holds a significant stake.  For example, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India (SBI), Dena Bank, Corporation Bank, and Punjab National Bank.

Foreign bank –: These banks are established in foreign countries and have branches in other countries. For instance, American Express Bank, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), Standard & Chartered Bank, Citibank, and more such banks.

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Examples of Commercial Banks

Few examples of commercial banks in India are as follows:

    1. State Bank of India (SBI)

    2. Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Bank

    3. Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) Bank

    4. Dena Bank

    5. Corporation Bank

This was all about the ‘Functions of Commercial Banks’ that is elucidated in detail for commerce students. To know about more such concepts, stay tuned to BYJU’S.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Function of Commercial Banks


What is the most important function of a Bank?

The most important function of a bank is to collect deposits from the public and lend those deposits for the development of business, agriculture, trade and commerce.


What is the first commercial bank of India?

Bank of Calcutta is the oldest commercial bank in India. It was established in the year 1806. It was later renamed the Bank of Bengal. Currently it is known as State Bank of India.


What is the main purpose of commercial banks?

The main purpose of commercial banks is to provide financial services to the general public and also provide loan facilities to the business which helps in ensuring economic stability and growth of the economy. Therefore, we can say that credit creation is the most important purpose of commercial banks.


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  1. Thanks for the info helped me out in completing my project

  2. very helpful info. thanks a lot.

  3. Really benefited for students and for job seekers in the banking industry.

  4. Very helpful thanks

  5. Tq for the help

  6. Very helpful thanks