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The fair deposit: credit reallocation and trade finance in the early modern period

Matringe, Nadia ORCID: 0000-0001-5508-8810 (2020) The fair deposit: credit reallocation and trade finance in the early modern period. Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales, 72 (2). pp. 275-315. ISSN 2398-5682

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Identification Number: 10.1017/ahsse.2019.13


Based on the private records of a prominent sixteenth-century merchant bank (Salviati of Lyon), this article focuses on an important instrument of trade finance in the early modern period: the fair deposit. While the financial history of deposit banking has often been separated from that of merchant banking, this study demonstrates that during the sixteenth century a specific type of deposit banking emerged at fairs, intrinsically connected to merchant banking and international trade. As analysis of the Salviati archives reveals, the fair deposit was an instrument of both clearing and credit, sustaining the financing of large-scale European trade. Credit mostly derived from international trade and banking, where it was reinjected almost immediately. Investments were stimulated by the numerous advantages offered by the fairs held at Lyon: licit lending at interest, a choice of investments, and the possibility of making purchases and rapid transfers. Loans to local and foreign businessmen nourished the trade of commodities and, above all, the exchange business, conferring on Lyon a crucial position in the European trade and exchange system. This form of deposit banking was closely related to the development of merchant banks that worked mostly on commission, drawing substantial profits from it without becoming specialists or even deposit banks.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Accounting
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2021 14:18
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 16:52

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