Everyone of us uses a bank on a daily basis, but very few know where this magic word comes from. The word "bank" comes from the Italian language and means "bench" : in fact the first money-lenders carried out their transactions on a bench ; if they were not honest, their bench was broken (whence the expression "bankruptcy" which means "broken bench").
In the Middle Ages, the Church did not allow loans bearing interest because it considered that this was immoral for money to produce money : only the Jews practised this trade and the rate of interest was very high. Nowadays, it is quite different, as we all know ; the economy of a modern country could not be imagined without banks since the latter allow those who need capital to borrow money at a reasonable rate. The operations effected by banks are quite numerous : opening deposit and current accounts, discount of negotiable instruments, loans on securities, credit or exchange operations... to name only a few.
The issuing bank has a particular importance since it controls the Country's economy, not only by issuing bank notes, but also by raising or lowering the rate of discount (as rule, the large banks follow suit).