Per Investopedia, a bank is a financial institution licensed to receive deposits and make loans. There are several types of banks including retail, commercial, and investment banks.

Banks make loans to consumers and businesses. The cash that is deposited by their customers is lent out to other customers at a higher rate of interest than the depositor is paid.

At the highest level, this is the process that keeps the economy humming. People deposit their money in banks; the bank lends the money out in car loans, credit cards, mortgages, and business loans. The loan recipients spend the money they borrow, the bank earns interest on the loans, and the process keeps money moving through the system.

Just like any other business, the goal of a bank is to earn a profit for its owners. For most banks, the owners are their shareholders. Banks do this by charging more interest on the loans and other debt they issue to borrowers than they pay to people who use their savings vehicles.