Moneylenders, from whom it was possible to borrow money at interest, existed in Ancient Babylon in the 8th century BC. e. But the first institutions that accepted them for storage were temples. For example, the inhabitants of ancient Athens kept their savings in the temples of the Acropolis, and medieval Europeans often kept their money in monasteries.
The word "bank" is of Italian origin. The word banco (translated from Italian - bench, table, bench) in the XV-XVI centuries. in the Republic of Venice they called benches on which money changers and usurers laid out coins and business papers. If the usurer went bankrupt and could not pay the money on his payment obligations, then this bench was racked on his own head. From the Italian banco rotto ("broken bench") comes the modern word "bankrupt".
In medieval Europe, the popes strictly forbade lending money at interest: profiting from the financial difficulties of fellow believers was considered a terrible sin. Therefore, in 1179, Pope Alexander III declared the money-lenders to be inveterate sinners and forbade them to take communion. In addition, the then "bankers" were not allowed to be buried on consecrated ground, so they, like the suicides, were buried behind the fence of cemeteries.
Unlike Christianity, Judaism does not prohibit believers from engaging in usury, so the vast majority of medieval "bankers" were Jews. By the way, the fact that many Jews were money changers and money lenders often led to Jewish pogroms, instigated by desperate debtors.
Like orthodox Christianity, Islam also prohibits usury. Therefore, banks in Muslim countries never lend money at interest. Moreover, Islamic banks do not accept money earned from the sale of alcohol, tobacco, pornography and ... pork as deposits! In addition, Muslim bankers try not to deal with the proceeds of gambling.
The oldest operating bank in the world is the Italian Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena. It opened in 1472 in the city of Sienna. Until recently, the Swiss bank Wegelin & Co, founded in 1466, was considered the oldest operating bank in the world, but it ceased operations in January 2013.
Banks in northern Italy give loans to farmers secured by ... cheese. The bank stores parmesan heads for 2-3 years in a special storage until they ripen. If the cheesemaker does not have time to pay off the loan by the time the parmesan ripens, the bank sells the cheese and reimburses its losses.
In modern Switzerland, there are about 400 banks, which hold deposits totaling approximately $ 52 trillion. It is interesting that in one of them there is an account for 13 Swiss francs, opened in the name of V.I. Lenin in 1902 and still not devastated.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the largest bank robbery was the massive export of valuables from the German Reichsbank in 1945. Then, in an unknown direction, most of the gold reserves of the Third Reich and many cultural values stolen by the Nazis from European museums, with a total value of about $ 5 billion (in current prices), disappeared.
Well, if we take into account the classic bank robbery, then the largest happened on July 12, 1987 at the Knightsbridge bank in London. Two criminals entered the depository under the pretext of revising their cells. The carelessness of the guards allowed the bandits to carry weapons, with the help of which they neutralized the guards. Having opened the cells of clients, the robbers took out $ 112.9 million. In order not to be disturbed, they put up a sign in front of the entrance: "The depositary is temporarily closed."