Most ancient bank

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,201
Italy, Lago Maggiore
As for we know in Italy, the "Monte Dei Paschi" in Siena is the most ancient bank still existing and in ordinary activity.

The history if this bank begun as a poor bank, with the declared purpose to lend money to poor persons with a minimum interest rate.

It was 1472, February 27th, when the General Council of the Republic [of Siena] deliberated the creation of the Monte Pio [first name of the bank institute].

It's evident that it was, since the beginning, a lay institute allowed to impose rates up to 7,5% [so not that low, from a modern perspective].

The word "Monte" [Mountain] was used also to indicate the clans of power of the city. Among these "Monti" there was the Monte dei Gentiluomini [Mountain of the Gentlemen] who developed a very early proto-bank activity, since XIII century lending money and using a kind of "exchange letter" [similar to the one used by Templars using the Crusades].

It would be interesting to know, country by country, which are the most ancient banks in activity and if the families creating them are still in the society [it's not the case of the bank in Siena].
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,773
Cornwall
I think the Templars more or less invented banking 300 years earlier. Many documents are still available of these transactions.

But I'm sure someone will come forward with knowledge of ancient banking in some form.
 

David Vagamundo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,439
Atlanta, Georgia USA
I think the Templars more or less invented banking 300 years earlier. Many documents are still available of these transactions.

But I'm sure someone will come forward with knowledge of ancient banking in some form.
The Templars held deposits of money for the King, but didn't lend it to others, as far as I'm aware. If taking deposits and issuing letters of credit alone makes a bank, then the pagan temples were banks, as they held deposits of money under the sacred protection of the gods they represented. To be a true bank, the institution must lend as well as borrow

From my brief research, the Egyptians had actual banks that borrowed and lent, as well as issued letters of credit
 

Von Ranke

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
6,377
Thistleland
Depending on how seriously you take the New Testament as a historical document one could argue that Christ's cleansing of the money changers from the temple refers to a banking community. Even if one dismisses the NT as a fairy story the writer must have been referring to a practice that was widespread in Judaea in the first century. Even the word bench has been adopted in English to represent bank. The practice of a form of banking probably dates back much earlier, but this must have been one of the earliest written sources mentioning it.

Money Changers | Jewish Virtual Library
 
Mar 2015
682
Southern Brazil
Probably banks came into existence in Mesopotamia
Because almost everything came into existence in Mesopotamia
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,201
Italy, Lago Maggiore
I see there is a misunderstanding: I'm thinking to a bank in activity today [like the "Monte Dei Paschi" in Siena, you can have a current account in that bank now ...].

If we think to the first bank, in modern sense, we have to look at Genoa. In 1406 [so before of the creation of the Monte in Siena] they created the St. George Bank [which managed also the public debt and Machiavelli defined it a "state in a state"].
 

Von Ranke

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
6,377
Thistleland
I see there is a misunderstanding: I'm thinking to a bank in activity today [like the "Monte Dei Paschi" in Siena, you can have a current account in that bank now ...].

If we think to the first bank, in modern sense, we have to look at Genoa. In 1406 [so before of the creation of the Monte in Siena] they created the St. George Bank [which managed also the public debt and Machiavelli defined it a "state in a state"].
Apologies sir! In that case the Bank of Scotland first opened for business in 1696 after an act of the Scottish parliament in 1695. This was one year after the Bank of England came into being.
 

kazeuma

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
2,392
The first bank is a chest in the back of the king's castle full of gold and if he wants to make sure his enemies did not get it he would take a shovel and bury it in his rose garden. The words "pay through a nose" comes from this burial period, the vikings or some other barbaric tribe would after raiding the castle would take the ruler by the nose, take a knife and put it between the two nostrils and bisect the two nostrils, and the local lord after peeing himself would cough up the location for the chest of gold and silver.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,201
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Apologies sir! In that case the Bank of Scotland first opened for business in 1696 after an act of the Scottish parliament in 1695. This was one year after the Bank of England came into being.
The Bank of Scotland, am I wrong or today it's part of the Lloyds world?
 

Star

Ad Honorem
Sep 2010
3,736
USA
The oldest continuously operated bank in the US was up until 2007, the Bank of New York:
Wikipedia said:
The Bank of New York was a global financial services company established in 1784 by the American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. It existed until its merger with the Mellon Financial Corporation on July 2, 2007. The company now continues under the new name of The Bank of New York Mellon or BNY Mellon.
State Street Bank & Trust in Boston, MA is still open for business; founded in 1792.

In my state, the Colorado National Bank was founded in 1862 by the Kountze brothers for the Gold Rush and related industries developing in the Midwest and Rocky Mountains. Over the last fifty years, Colorado National took over Bank Western and Central Bank. US Bancorp absorbed CNB in 1993.
 
Last edited: