The modern banking system; born in Naples with the credit faith

Naples, in the sixteenth century, was rightly considered the second European city after Paris alone. It is well known that the Neapolitan roads were overflowing with people from all walks of life and origins. Naples attracted writers, artists, poets and philosophers, as well as numerous merchants. The city, also thanks to its port, was a nerve center for trade in the old continent and inevitably the need arose from merchants and shopkeepers to simplify the management of the flow of money.

It is in this historical context that the various mountains of piety, established by noblemen to counter the spreading phenomenon of usury, turned into real public stalls. These banks were not limited to the issue of pallets against money deposits but established a special title, the credit faith. Today we can say that the faith of credit has been the basis for the birth of the modern banking system but, let’s see together what it is.

The credit claim was a deposit made at a public desk and could be transferred to a third person by endorsement. The turn often and willingly contained special clauses that could suspend payment if the beneficiary had not complied with certain conditions.

The subjects of the Credit Faith

The subjects of the Credit Faith

Numerous subjects intervened in the issuance of a credit faith. The historian and writer Alberto Trivero Rivera explains the Faith of Credit.

“The client showed up at the cash desk of the Bank where the cashier accepted the cash that was paid to him, counting it and recording the details of the payment in the tear (first note), in the book of special income and in that of general income. this last book to the believer who filled out the credit claim based on the amount paid and the conditions indicated by the depositor.

The credit faith thus compiled returned to the cashier, who specified and signed under his own hand the amount of the deposited sum. bancale was then submitted to the aid of the faithful, who placed on a folded and fixed flap a stamp with the emblem of the issuing counter and then returned the credit to the cashier, who affixed his signature in correspondence of the dry stamp, specifying also the number of the page of the major book in which the account of the customer was reported, and finally delivered to the customer the credit faith. The believer also recorded the amount of the credit faith issued on a second general income book.

This duplication of registration was aimed at making the daily comparison easier, in addition to making the entire operation more secure and guaranteed; operation carried out at the office called wheel, which were given at the end of the day the two books of general revenues on the basis of which the major book of creditors was updated, where there was a list and details of the accounts opened by depositors “.

Historical evolution of credit faith

Historical evolution of credit faith

This particular and unusual mix of roles might have seemed complex and cumbersome, but in reality it served to simplify the feedback work, as well as to update daily what, without the slightest doubt, can be considered a current personal current account.

The credit lines are then very similar to the current bank drafts or bank drafts. They offered a valid alternative to paper money as the title was transferable in an almost unlimited way and accepted by any public bank.

The credit faith began to circulate in Italy and in particular in Southern Italy, first as the exclusive title of the Neapolitan Public Banks, then as the title of the Bankate and the Astro bank, which over time acquired the privilege of exclusive issuance. After the unification of Italy, credit lines continued to be widely used. They disappeared during the fascist period but, in the meantime, they had laid the foundations of the national banking system.

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