Financial services are the economic services provided by the finance industry, which encompasses a broad range of organizations that manage money, including credit unions, banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, accountancy companies, consumer finance companies, stock brokerages, investment funds and some government sponsored enterprises.
As of 2004, the financial services industry represented 20% of the market capitalization of the S&P 500 in the United States. The U.S. finance industry comprised only 10% of total non-farm business profits in 1947, but it grew to 50% by 2010. Over the same period, finance industry income as a proportion of GDP rose from 2.5% to 7.5%, and the finance industry's proportion of all corporate income rose from 10% to 20%.
The payment system is an operational network - governed by laws, rules and standards - that links bank accounts and provides the functionality for monetary exchange using bank deposits. The payment system is the infrastructure (consisting of institutions, instruments, rules, procedures, standards,and technical means) established in effect the transfer of monetary value between parties discharging mutual obligations. Its technical efficiency determines the efficiency with which transaction money is used in the economy, and risk associated with its use.
What makes it a "system" is that it employs cash-substitutes; traditional payment systems are negotiable instruments such as drafts (e.g., checks) and documentary credits such as letter of credits. With the advent of computers and electronic communications a large number of alternative electronic payment systems have emerged. These include debit cards, credit cards, electronic funds transfers, direct credits, direct debits, internet banking and e-commerce payment systems. Some payment systems include credit mechanisms, but that is essentially a different aspect of payment. Payment systems are used in lieu of tendering cash in domestic and international transactions and consist of a major service provided by banks and other financial institutions.
Monetary policy is the process by which the monetary authority of a country controls the supply of money, often targeting a rate of interest for the purpose of promoting economic growth and stability. The official goals usually include relatively stable prices and low unemployment. Monetary economics provides insight into how to craft optimal monetary policy.
Monetary policy is referred to as either being expansionary or contractionary, where an expansionary policy increases the total supply of money in the economy more rapidly than usual, and contractionary policy expands the money supply more slowly than usual or even shrinks it. Expansionary policy is traditionally used to try to combat unemployment in a recession by lowering interest rates in the hope that easy credit will entice businesses into expanding. Contractionary policy is intended to slow inflation in order to avoid the resulting distortions and deterioration of asset values.
The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is an income tax imposed by the United States federal government on individuals, corporations, estates, and trusts. AMT is imposed at a nearly flat rate on an adjusted amount of taxable income above a certain threshold (also known as exemption). This exemption is substantially higher than the exemption from regular income tax.
Regular taxable income is adjusted for certain items computed differently for AMT, such as depreciation and medical expenses. No deduction is allowed for state taxes or miscellaneous itemized deductions in computing AMT income. Taxpayers with incomes above the exemption whose regular Federal income tax is below the amount of AMT must pay the higher AMT amount.
A money market account (MMA) or money market deposit account (MMDA) is a financial account that pays interest based on current interest rates in the money markets.
Money market accounts typically have a relatively high rate of interest and require a higher minimum balance (anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 to $25,000) to earn interest or avoid monthly fees. The resulting investment strategy is therefore similar to, and meant to compete with, a money market fund offered by a brokerage. The two account types are otherwise unrelated.
In journalism, a human interest story is a feature story that discusses a person or people in an emotional way. It presents people and their problems, concerns, or achievements in a way that brings about interest, sympathy or motivation in the reader or viewer.
Human interest stories may be "the story behind the story" about an event, organization, or otherwise faceless historical happening, such as about the life of an individual soldier during wartime, an interview with a survivor of a natural disaster, a random act of kindness or profile of someone known for a career achievement.