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bank

n. 1) an officially chartered institution empowered to receive deposits, make loans, and provide checking and savings account services, all at a profit. In the United States banks must be organized under strict requirements by either the federal or a state government. Banks receive funds for loans from the Federal Reserve System provided they meet safe standards of operation and have sufficient financial reserves. Bank accounts are insured up to $100,000 per account by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Most banks are so-called "commercial" banks with broad powers. In the east and midwest there are some "savings" banks which are basically mutual banks owned by the depositors, concentrate on savings accounts, and place their funds in such safe investments as government bonds. Savings and loan associations have been allowed to perform some banking services under so-called deregulation in 1981, but are not full-service commercial banks and lack strict regulation. Mortgage loan brokers and thrift institutions (often industrial loan companies) are not banks and do not have insurance and governmental control. Severe losses to customers of these institutions have occurred in times of economic contraction or due to insider profiteering or outright fraud. Credit unions are not banks, but are fairly safe since they are operated by the members of the industry, union or profession of the depositors and borrowers. 2) a group of judges sitting together as an appeals court, referred to as "in bank" or "en banc."


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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications