An institution that uses its funds chiefly to purchase financial assets (deposits, loans, securities) as opposed to tangible property. Financial institutions can be classified according to the nature of the principal claims they issue: nondeposit intermediaries include, among others, life and property/casualty insurance companies and pension funds, whose claims are the policies they sell, or the promise to provide income after retirement; depository intermediaries obtain funds mainly by accepting deposits from the public. The major depository institutions are listed below. Although historically they have specialized in certain types of credit, the powers of nonbank depository institutions have been broadened in recent years. For example, NOW accounts, credit union share drafts, and other services similar to checking accounts may be offered by thrift institutions.
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