All commercial banks accept deposits and make commercial loans. This intermediation function is a bank’s core business. Beyond that, however, banks and bank holding companies may offer other products and services (so-called “nonbank activities”). “Products and services” are also referred to as “powers.”
An institution’s primary regulator determines what the institution can do. The Comptroller of the Currency makes these decisions for national banks, state bank supervisors decide appropriate activities for state-chartered banks, and the Federal Reserve System determines the activities of bank holding companies. The FDIC monitors state-authorized activities of state-chartered banks to protect insured deposits from unsafe and unsound activities, but has limited authority to intervene directly in the activities of national banks or holding companies.