Whereas savings banks aim to assemble funds for the purchase of investments, and whereas the bond houses or investment banks are concerned with the sale and distribution of securities, both promote investment from the opposite end.

In marketing securities, three groups of institutions are successively engaged: The securities are purchased by one group, are underwritten by another, and are distributed among ultimate buyers by a third. These functions overlap, it is true, and in some instances one house may perform all three of them, and the bond house may operate in any or all of these ways.