A lot of scholarly activity has gone into the history of Money Lending and the first question is often when did money lending first begin and how old is the oldest bank. In the modern context a bank is the institution that lends money. In Roman times money lending was more between individuals. But the real answer is as long as we have been modern humans there has been lending its just the currency may have changed from bartering a lump of beef for  10 bushels of wheat to a days food and clothing for a days work.

Picture two cavemen leaving the cave in the morning for a good old hunting session. One has a net and one has a spear. Returning home in the evening there is going to be a bit of trade. The money, transposed to the value of a fish versus the value of some dear meat. Money is just another way of saying 5 fish is worth 1 dear leg. Or 5 fish for £5.00 and 1 leg for £5.00. Bartering goods for goods without money isn’t really less sophisticated but society needs a constant medium to value everything and provide order. Money does this.

Money provides a constant between goods.

Moving forwards from cavemen bartering to Roman money to the late 13th century certainly the bank in a form as we know it was running from the wealth of great family pockets such as the Medici family in Italy in the late 13th Century. And other “money lending families” a practice that in essence went back to Roman Times. Interrupted only by papal bans in 1197. Forward to the  the founding of the first official bank in 1401, amazingly the oldest bank in the world founded in 1472 the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena.


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