For-profit corporations are in business to make money, but they do so in different ways. Investors and government regulators distinguish between financial and non-financial companies based on their function in the economic and business world. Non-financial corporations must contend with different market forces and regulatory environments than do financial services firms.
The Roles of Non-Financials
"Non-financial" is a catch-all term for any corporation that primarily produces goods or non-financial services. Non-financial companies are generally divided into three sectors: publicly owned or controlled companies, private companies and foreign firms. Examples include manufacturers like Apple and General Motors, communications giant AT&T and retailers like Target and Macy's. Restaurants, legal firms and farms are other types of non-financial businesses. By contrast, financial services companies include banks like Wells Fargo, investment firm J P Morgan, mortgage lender Freddie Mac, as well as insurance companies and mutual funds.