Banks are only one of several kinds of financial institutions that offer financial services to their patrons. The term “bank” is often used as a collective term to describe any one of the numerous forms of financial institutions. Banks, like most other banklike financial institutions, are established by charters. A charter is official permission from a regulating authority (like a state) to accept deposits and/or to provide financial services. Charters provide the specifics of a bank’s powers and obligations. State and federal governments closely regulate banks and bank accounts. Accounts for customers may be established by national and state financial institutions, all of which are regulated by the law under which they are established.
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