Wholesale banking is commonly defined as banking services that are provided between merchant banks and other financial institutions. However, wholesale banking is often used as a term to refer to the wide range of financial services that are provided by financial institutions to various corporations and businesses, as well as to government entities. Wholesale banking is different from retail banking, in that the former focuses more on corporate style entities and high value transactions, while the latter is focused on providing financial services to individual consumers. Thus, a bank will typically engage in both wholesale and retail banking.
Wholesale banking will include the task of providing a broad suite of services to large corporations, mid-sized companies, and small businesses. Often, a financial institution will provide these services as discounted rates, based on the number of services included in the package. This approach makes it more attractive for a company to place all financial matters with the single institution, rather than using different banks and agencies for each banking service that the business needs in order to function.