(1,402 words)

1. Early modern period

The term bank goes back to Middle Latin bancus, which is the term for a money-changer’s table (bancherii). Key features of bank activity are the granting of credit (with the help of property and investment capital), payment on behalf of creditors, and exchange. It was only in the course of the late Middle Ages that various categories of banking formed in Italy: international merchant-bankers, local exchangers and bankers as …

Cite this page
North, Michael, “Bank”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 22 February 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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