The Census of Finance Companies is a five-year benchmark survey of finance companies. It includes detailed questions about the types of credit offered by each firm. In addition, the Survey asks about the income statement and the scale of the firm’s operations. The survey also includes questions on small business credit. More than 2,300 finance companies were eligible for the survey. More than 40% of these firms responded.
The Federal Reserve uses balance sheet data to benchmark the finance company industry. The sector contains a large number of small companies: in 2015, over half of all finance companies reported total assets below $1 million, and more than 82 percent were under $10 million. In addition, the largest firms represented only 71 percent of the industry’s total assets.
The primary function of finance companies is to lend money to individuals and businesses. As opposed to banks, finance companies do not accept deposits and do not offer checking accounts. They earn their profits from interest rates on loans that they issue. The interest rates they charge are usually higher than those offered by banks. Hence, finance companies offer a variety of loans to meet individual and business needs.
The interest rates charged by finance companies depend on a number of factors, including the credit history of the borrower. For instance, if a borrower has a poor credit history, their auto loan rates will likely be higher than those of others with good credit. Moreover, finance companies may offer factoring services to businesses.