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The financial services sector provides financial services to people and corporations. This segment of the economy is made up of a variety of financial firms including banks, investment houses, lenders, finance companies, real estate brokers, and insurance companies. As noted above, the financial services industry is probably the most important sector of the economy, leading the world in terms of earnings and equity market capitalization. Large conglomerates dominate this sector, but it also includes a diverse range of smaller companies.

According to the finance and development department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), financial services are the processes by which consumers or businesses acquire financial goods´╗┐.1´╗┐ For example, a payment system provider offers a financial service when it accepts and transfers funds between payers and recipients. This includes accounts settled through credit and debit cards, checks, and electronic funds transfers.