Between 1924 and 1991, Mongolia's services sector was heavily state-controlled and was significantly underdeveloped. Since the early 1990s, the Mongolian government has made considerable efforts to deregulate this sector, with special attention focused on reforming the financial services industry. The monopoly of the state bank was broken and commercial banks were allowed to compete. This sector was restructured with assistance from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In 2000 there were 12 banks, 6 state-owned and 6 privately owned.
Tourism is an underdeveloped sector of the economy, limited by lack of accommodation facilities and transportation infrastructure. Thanks to the combination of Mongolia's landscape and its position on the old Silk Road (the trade route connecting China with Western Europe in medieval times), adventure tourism offers a high growth potential. Mongolia welcomed about 160,000 tourists in 1999, and the government passed a law establishing the National Tourism Development Program: 2000-2015 in order to boost this sector.
The retail sector is quite underdeveloped by Western standards, consisting mainly of small shops and restaurants. With the growth in tourism since the 1990s, the quality of the retail sector and diversity of services have been improving.