Financial intermediaries are those entities with "low-cost" money (banks, credit unions, savings & loan associations, mutual and pension funds and insurance companies) that act as providers of money (as loans or investments) to those needing funding. They have developed a sophisticated network to allow them to have these funds available and deliver them as quickly and efficiently as electronically possible.
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Financial intermediaries perform as provider of funds to those who need money. From banks, credit unions, savings & loans, mutual funds, insurance companies and pension funds, financial intermediaries provide funds for all manner of borrowers and investors. Whether it's a bank providing a personal loan, a mortgage lender or financial entities creating investment markets, financial intermediaries keep the flow of funds moving.
Individuals and businesses often need funds for working capital, asset purchases (homes, cars, equipment, buildings and computer systems) and the financial intermediary network serves as the source of this money. Borrowing from savers (depositors in banks and credit unions), financial intermediaries provide monies at a reasonable cost to those who need them. Their network, a finely tuned money machine, eliminates most difficulties for those needing funds.
Financial intermediaries exercise great power and control over the country's economy. In theory, their network allows the country's financial transactions and money movement to keep funds flowing. At most times, this theory is the reality. However, they can also enhance the effects of a negative economy by refusing to become players in the global financial game. When regional, national or global economic problems occur, financial intermediaries sometimes choose to tighten their requirements or even to suspend money offerings. This action often makes a bad situation worse.
While always necessary components to the economy, the sophistication of computers and the Internet has allowed financial intermediaries to become even more efficient and important. Those needing funds can often be anywhere in the world and receive the money they need electronically. The risk of transferring funds, the time delay and the need for "hard cash" have all been effectively eliminated. This has allowed financial intermediaries to serve just as professionally as banking institutions. For example, mutual and pension funds effectively offer financial intermediary services to individuals and businesses at reasonable rates.
It is important to understand both what financial intermediaries are able to do and what they are willing to do for you. Having large amounts of money for loan or investment without the desire to provide these monies to others serves little purpose to those individuals and companies needing funding. Carefully consider your need for funds and those financial intermediaries most interested in providing the money.
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