The savings bank concept can be used in different ways. In some countries, a type of bank account is called a savings account.
A savings account, in this sense, is an account in which the client deposits their money so that the bank can keep it and pay interest on the amount deposited. This money is available to the user, who can withdraw it from the savings account whenever he wishes.
These savings can have different associated products and services such as debit cards, credit cards and electronic banking. The owner of the savings account can also give the number of the savings account to other people to make deposits in said account or make a money transfer.
A translator who offers his services independently, for example, can use a savings account to collect his work. When he receives an order, in this way, the translator sends the data of his savings account so that the contractor can deposit or transfer the agreed fees.
Unlike the checking account, the savings account does not allow you to have checks or use more money than is available in the balance. The holder of a checking account, on the other hand, can make an overdraft, which involves incurring a debt.
When speaking of savings bank, with the last term in the plural, it can refer to a credit institution that is oriented to finance small businesses and family groups. These savings banks have a social purpose and have no profit motive.
The savings bank, being a credit institution, is part of the same group as credit unions and banks. However, it has certain well-defined characteristics that differentiate it from the other components; For example, while banks are public limited companies, the nature of savings banks is foundational, which is why they are obliged to allocate a portion of their income to social purposes.
Another example of the obligations that savings banks have in contrast to those of a bank or a credit cooperative is that the highest governing body, the General Assembly, must be represented by founders, interest groups, public administrations, employees. and depositors. Furthermore, the character of the savings bank is strongly territorial.
In Spain, savings banks are entities that enjoy the same freedom as other financial entities to carry out their operations. Although their purpose is social, they work based on market criteria. After the financial crisis that took place in 2008, the sector had to go through a process of restructuring and concentration, and in a short time almost all savings banks disappeared except for two: Colonya, Caixa Pollença and Caixa Ontinyent.
The regulation of savings banks in Spain is in charge of the Law of Savings Banks and Banking Foundations, and its creation is governed by Decree 1838/1975. In the same way, the regulations that refer to infractions, penalties and own resources, among others that apply to credit institutions, directly affect them.
In the past, the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks was the point at which these entities were grouped, although after the entry into force of Law 26/2013, credit institutions and banking foundations also began to form part of it.. Until 2009, 96.3% of the Spanish population had at least one branch in their town of residence.