A financial intermediary
is an institution or individual that serves as a middleman for different parties in a financial transaction
. According to classical and neoclassical economics, as well as most mainstream economics, a financial intermediary is typically a bank that consolidates deposits and uses the funds to transform them into loans. According to some heterodox economists and others, financial intermediaries simply do not exist.
Through the process of financial intermediation, certain assets or liabilities are transformed into different assets or liabilities. As such, financial intermediaries channel funds from people who have extra money or surplus
savings (savers) to those who do not have enough money to carry out a desired activity (borrowers).
A financial intermediary is typically an institution that facilitates the channeling of funds between lenders and borrowers indirectly. That is, savers (lenders) give funds to an intermediary institution (such as a bank), and that institution gives those funds to spenders (borrowers). This may be in the form of loans or mortgages. Alternatively, they may lend the money directly via the financial markets
, and eliminate the financial intermediary, which is known as financial disintermediation
In the context of climate finance and development, financial intermediaries generally refer to private sector
intermediaries, such as banks, private equity, venture capital
funds, leasing companies, insurance and pension funds, and micro-credit providers. Increasingly, international financial institutions provide funding via companies in the financial sector, rather than directly financing projects.