Investment banks help corporations, companies, and governments raise capital, assist in mergers and acquisitions, and provide ancillary services such as derivatives trading, foreign exchange, equity securities, and making markets. They act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers of stock as well. Investment banking training is extensive with the aim of having an in-depth knowledge of financial markets and concepts.
Commercial banks, or retail banks, on the other hand, are set up to deal with commercial transactions like legally taking money from individuals and corporations in the form of accounts and then lending the capital to others with interest.
Any investment banking course providing investment banking certifications will explain that an investment banker deals with companies as a financial intermediary and provides investment and financial advisory services. A commercial or retail bank provides banking services to the general public. Since a commercial bank works with the public, their customer base is much larger than that of investment banks who only works with companies.
One of the key differences between these two types of banking industries lies in the relationship and services offered by both. A commercial bank will only provide standardized services while an investment bank will personalize their services and give customer specific advice. Commercial banks are highly regulated by the government and Reserve Bank, making them more risk averse while investment banks have a higher tolerance for risk since they have lesser regulations. This makes the rewards for investment banking higher. Conversely, the losses in investment banking can be much more substantial.
The role of an investment bank is to identify companies that will benefit from their services and then make presentation to them. For example, with Amazon looking to increase its footprint across sectors, an investment bank can identify other, smaller companies who already have existing inroads in that sector, and pitch to Amazon to try to acquire the smaller company. This was seen with Amazon buying Whole Foods.
Another way investment banks work is by identifying companies that require extra capital investment in order to increase their growth. While these companies might be considering traditional commercial banks for a loan, they might be deterred by the high-interest rates. An investment banker can pitch different ideas, mainly the creation of equity or releasing bonds, to the company. The investment bank is also responsible for drawing up the legal documents for such processes. They make money by charging a commission or a fee. Sometimes, they might even buy some bonds or stock in the company.
A commercial bank provides services that are associated with traditional banking systems for individuals. They will help you procure a loan against interest with collateral or help you open and create various accounts such as RD, FD, current deposits, savings accounts, and more. These services are already pre-defined and do not change from person to person.
There are many banks that proved both forms of banking. For example, it is not uncommon to see banks help a company set up and sell an IPO and then use the commercial side to provide a line of credit to the company. This will ensure that the company enjoys quick financial growth and in turn, increase its stock prices.