Universal banks, also called full-service banks are credit institutions which, in contrast to specialized banks the full range of banking and financial services business offer (this Catalogue from § 1 para 1 no 1 to 12 of the Banking Act )

The universal banking principle is not spread all over the world. In many countries (eg U.S., UK ) are predominantly found specialized credit institutions. This is because the principle of universal banking is viewed from a regulatory perspective in these countries as very critical and problematic because massive conflicts of interest may arise through the various divisions. Diaper example, a company 's credit operations, its payments, its investments and its initial public offering on a universal bank from, the question arises whether the bank may or must use the knowledge from the various business relationship in the context of investment advice on the shares of this company, without to injure the interests of the investor and the company.


The operations of universal banks can be divided into:


In the political and public debate criticism is leveled against the concept of universal banking. There is an increasing demand due to the financial crisis that universal banks are split and swapped the high-risk investment business to independent banks and is separated from the rest of the division.

In September 2012, the former German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück presents a concept that the overall splitting of the universal banks overwhelmed.