What is a bank?
The capital requirements to start a bank often vary greatly from state to state. In Florida, the suggested capital requirement is $6 million for a bank in a metropolitan area and $4 million for a bank in a rural area. In other states, such as New York, that amount might be $10 million or more for metropolitan areas. Those capital requirements are usually determined by your strategic plan and pro forma financial statements for the market you've selected.
As mentioned above, the organizing group may be responsible for 10 percent to 15 percent of that amount. The remainder is sold to shareholders. Organizing groups may shoot for 400 to 750 or more shareholders in order to raise the money needed to start the bank. Usually, the more shareholders a bank has, the better its chance of succeeding.
How do banks make money?
Banks are just like other businesses. Their product just happens to be money. Other businesses sell widgets or services; banks sell money -- in the form of loans, certificates of deposit (CDs) and other financial products. They make money on the interest they charge on loans because that interest is higher than the interest they pay on depositors' accounts.
The interest rate a bank charges its borrowers depends on both the number of people who want to borrow and the amount of money the bank has available to lend. As we mentioned in the previous section, the amount available to lend also depends upon the reserve requirement the Federal Reserve Board has set. At the same time, it may also be affected by the funds rate, which is the interest rate that banks charge each other for short-term loans to meet their reserve requirements. Check out How the Fed Works for more on how the Fed influences the economy.