A mount of piety is an institutional pawnbroker run as a charity in Europe from Renaissance times until today. Similar institutions were established in the colonies of Catholic countries; the Mexican Nacional Monte de Piedad is still in operation.
This fifteenth-century institution originated in Italy; Barnabas of Terni is credited as the originator of the concept.It was developed in cities as an early form of organized charity, and was intended as a reform against money lending.
The public office was organized and operated by the Catholic Church and offered financial loans at a moderate interest to those in need.The organizing principle, based on the benefit of the borrower and not the profit of the lender, was viewed as a benevolent alternative to the loans provided by moneylenders. The organization of the Monte di Pietà depended on acquiring a monte, a collection of funds from voluntary donations by financially privileged people who had no intentions of regaining their money. The people in need would then be able to come to the Monte di Pietà and give an item of value in exchange for a monetary loan. The term of the loan would last the course of a year and would only be worth about two-thirds of the borrower's item value. A pre-determined interest rate would be applied to the loan and these profits were used to pay the expenses of operating the Monte di Pietà.
Over succeeding centuries such organizations spread throughout the continent of Western Europe,a credit to the preaching of Franciscans and their condemnation of usury, with later support by both Dominican preachers and humanist intellectuals of the fifteenth century.
In 1462, the first recorded Monte di Pietà was founded in Perugia. Between 1462 and 1470, an estimated forty more were developed.The Franciscan Marco di Matteo Strozzi preached about the benefits of a Monte di Pietà in combating usury. He left a set of memoirs that outlined his goal to rid the city of Jewish money lenders and to replace them with Christian pawn shops which allowed the poor to acquire cheap credit.
In Rome, Pope Sixtus V (1585–90) founded in 1585 the local Monte di Pietà in via dei Coronari. Moved later near Campo de' Fiori to the piazza bearing its name, it still exists.
The first institution was started in 1361 by the Bishop of London, Michael Northburgh, who left 1,000 marks of silver for the establishment of a bank that should lend money on pawned objects, without interest, providing that the expenses of the institution be defrayed from its foundation capital. He had the monies deposited in a chest in the body of St Paul's and directed that if in any case at the end of the year the sums borrowed were not repaid, then the preacher at Paul's Cross should in his sermon declare that the pledge would be sold within fourteen days, if not redeemed forthwith.The capital was eventually consumed, and the bank closed.
Malta's Monte di Pietà was set up in 1598, initially under the name Monte di Sant'Anna. It was merged with the Monte della Redenzione degli Schiavi in 1787, becoming known as the Monte di Pietà e Redenzione. The Monte di Pietà is still in operation today as part of the Inland Revenue Department.
The Brussels Mont de Piété, first founded in 1618, is still an active institution.The founder was Wenceslas Cobergher, who went on to establish fifteen such institutions in different towns in the Spanish Netherlands in the years between 1618 and 1633, financed by the provision of annuities in return for direct capital investment. Prior to this date the provision of consumer credit was largely in the hands of Lombards whose loans were at high rates of interest. Criticism of the Monts de Piété as themselves usurious institutions that both borrowed and lent at interest were countered by the Jesuit moral theologian Leonardus Lessius in an appendix to the 1621 edition of his De justitia et jure.
A massaro or massaio had the duty of overseeing the daily interactions between the borrowers that came to the Monte di Pietà and the other employees. If the item was believed to be the legal property of the borrower two assistants called scrivani collected the pawn from the borrower. After examining and recording details about the condition of the object, it would then be passed to assessors who would evaluate the item's value. The massaro would then make three copies of a numbered receipt that identified the owner's name, the type of object being pawned, the condition of the object, the object's value, the amount of the loan and the date. [ citation needed ] Of the three receipts, one would be given to the owner-borrower, another would be kept in the massaro's record book and one would be attached to the item.Generally, the loan would not exceed two thirds of the object's value.
The monetary funds would then be supplied by the cashier to the borrower. This employee had the duty of keeping their own records of the money collected, loaned and the interest on each loan.[ citation needed ] During the first year of operations, the Monte di Pietà did not grant loans more than twenty-five lire to people who lived in the city and ten lire to people who lived in the rural area five miles from the city. This restriction was expected to increase as more funds were acquired from voluntary and involuntary donations. If a borrower wanted to regain his pawned item, he would have to return the receipt to the massaro. The cashier would then calculate the interest that was earned on the item and the borrower would have to pay the interest in order to redeem their pawn. This interest collection provided one of the sources of revenue for the daily functions, operations, and salaries of the Monte di Pietà.
The Monte di Pietà's employees were responsible for keeping track of the daily operations of the organization. Strict regulation dictated both their work and personal life. For example, fines were imposed for improper or dishonest behaviour. The actual space of the "Monte di Pietà was regarded as a pious and religious house" and therefore stage plays, dances, games and other festivities were forbidden.The employees’ salaries came from the income generated by the interest payments on loans. The massaro earned 120 florins per year, the cashier was paid 80 florins, the massaro's two assistants received 30 florins each, the assessors received 40 florins each, and the two servants earned 24 florins each.
The Monte di Pietà accumulated capital from members of the patrician class,middle class, corporate groups, guilds, fines resulting from lawsuits and Communed ordered resources. One of the most creative strategies that preachers used in Florentine to acquire more capital for their “monte” was to declare Palm Sunday as a day for donations in the form of alms. The “monte” was supposed to be gathered from "gifts or donations in honour of a person’s love for God". Some scholars hypothesize that members of the artisan class and widows would freely give some money towards the “monte” upon hearing a sermon condemning usury and proclaiming the need to help the poor. While some monetary deposits were voluntary, some people had no choice in funding the capital for the “monte”. For example, Monna Margherita da Poppi of 1497 gave 40 lire to the Monte di Pietà as part of her sentence in a legal matter. The Monte di Pietà was in charge of keeping this money from her until she was married. In this case, the organization of the Monte di Pietà was a dowry fund which became popular during the mid-sixteenth century. More revenues for the “monte” were acquired from the state through ordered fines.
Before the Monte di Pietà actually operated, a group of "eight men assembled to draw up the statues" of the Florentine monte di pietà on April 15, 1496. The eight who gathered were Niccolò de’ Nobili, Piero de’ Lenzi, Bernardo de’ Segni, Niccolò de’ Nero, Piero de’ Guicciardini, Giacopo de’ Salviati, Antonio di Sasso di Sasso and Diacopo Mannucci. [ citation needed ] Since the purpose of the Monte di Pietà was to combat usury, there were clear guidelines regarding the operations of the organization. For example, the employees had to ensure that all items that were exchanged were free, and therefore the legal property of the person pawning it. Also there were guidelines regarding the kind of items that were permitted, and the amount a person could borrow, both in terms of time and quantity. For example, holy items and unfinished goods such as pieces of cloth were not accepted as pawns for loans.It was the members of the patrician class that dominated the prestigious and well paid positions of decision making concerning the Monte di Pietà.
The Monte di pietà was developed on the principle of charity. It was designed to aid less fortunate people by providing an alternative to the socially unaccepted Jewish money lending system.However, Jewish banks continued to exist with the Monte di Pietà and they each catered to a distinctive clientele.
The Mount of Piety is a different organisational form from the so-called montepío, which appeared during the second half of the 18th century. The Montepío was a mutual, agnostic, and government-controlled institution established by craftsmen or lesser standing professionals to care for members' needs when disabled or rehabilitating. They operated under a Patron Saint and in a church or monastery but without any religious obligation (and many had an ephemeral life).
A pawnbroker is an individual or business that offers secured loans to people, with items of personal property used as collateral. The items having been pawned to the broker are themselves called pledges or pawns, or simply the collateral. While many items can be pawned, pawnshops typically accept jewelry, musical instruments, home audio equipment, computers, video game systems, coins, gold, silver, televisions, cameras, power tools, firearms, and other relatively valuable items as collateral.
Interest, in finance and economics, is payment from a borrower or deposit-taking financial institution to a lender or depositor of an amount above repayment of the principal sum, at a particular rate. It is distinct from a fee which the borrower may pay the lender or some third party. It is also distinct from dividend which is paid by a company to its shareholders (owners) from its profit or reserve, but not at a particular rate decided beforehand, rather on a pro rata basis as a share in the reward gained by risk taking entrepreneurs when the revenue earned exceeds the total costs.
Usury is the practice of making unethical or immoral monetary loans that unfairly enrich the lender. The term may be used in a moral sense—condemning, taking advantage of others' misfortunes—or in a legal sense, where an interest rate is charged in excess of the maximum rate that is allowed by law. A loan may be considered usurious because of excessive or abusive interest rates or other factors defined by a nation's laws. Someone who practices usury can be called a usurer, but in contemporary English may be called a loan shark.
The Florentine florin was a coin struck from 1252 to 1533 with no significant change in its design or metal content standard during that time. It had 54 grains of nominally pure or 'fine' gold with a purchasing power difficult to estimate but ranging according to social grouping and perspective from approximately 140 to 1000 modern US dollars. The name of the coin comes from the Giglio bottonato (it), the floral emblem of the city, which is represented at the head of the coin.
A loan shark is a person who offers loans at extremely high interest rates, has strict terms of collection upon failure, and operates outside of the street. Loan sharking is usually illegal, but may be predatory lending with extremely high interest rates such as payday or title loans.
The War of the Eight Saints (1375–1378) was a war between Pope Gregory XI and a coalition of Italian city-states led by Florence that contributed to the end of the Avignon Papacy.
Lombard banking was a mount of piety style of pawn shop in the Middle Ages, a type of banking that originated in prosperous Northern Italy, called Lombardy as a whole during the Middle Ages. The term was sometimes used in a derogatory sense, and some were accused of usury.
Palla di Onofrio Strozzi was an Italian banker, politician, writer, philosopher and philologist.
Pawnbroking, lending money on portable security, began in ancient history. The practice was widespread in many parts of the world, from ancient Greece to medieval China and medieval Europe.
The Medici Bank was a financial institution created by the Medici family in Italy during the 15th century (1397–1494). It was the largest and most respected bank in Europe during its prime. There are some estimates that the Medici family was, for a period of time, the wealthiest family in Europe. Estimating their wealth in today's money is difficult and imprecise, considering that they owned art, land, and gold. With this monetary wealth, the family acquired political power initially in Florence, and later in the wider spheres of Italy and Europe.
The subject of loans and interest in Judaism has a long and complex history. In the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Ezekiel classifies the charging of interest among the worst sins, denouncing it as an abomination and metaphorically portraying usurers as people who have shed the borrower's blood. The Talmud dwells on Ezekiel's condemnation of charging interest.
The Blessed Bernardine of Feltre was a Friar Minor and missionary, b. at Feltre, Italy, in 1439 and d. at Pavia, 28 September 1494. He is remembered in connection with the monti di pietà of which he was the reorganizer and, in a certain sense, the founder, together with the Blessed Michele Carcano. The feast of Blessed Bernardino is kept in the Order of Friars Minor on 28 September.
Michele Carcano O.F.M. Obs. was an Italian Franciscan preacher. He is known for his part in founding the montes pietatis banking system, with Bernardine of Feltre.
The Nacional Monte de Piedad is a not-for-profit institution and pawnshop whose main office is located just off the Zócalo, or main plaza of Mexico City. It was established between 1774 and 1777 by Don Pedro Romero de Terreros, the Count of Regla as part of a movement to provide interest-free or low-interest loans to the poor. It was recognized as a national charity in 1927 by the Mexican government. In the first decade of the 21st century, it is a fast-growing institution, with over 200 branches all over Mexico and plans to open a branch in every Mexican city.
The Palazzo Ricca is a monumental palace, located on the southernmost end of Via dei Tribunali #231, in central Naples, region of Campania, Italy. It presently houses the archives of the Foundation of the Istituto Banco di Napoli. The palace is just down the street from the entrance to Castel Capuano
Banca dell'Umbria 1462 S.p.A. or previously known as Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia was an Italian savings bank. The bank became a subsidiary of UniCredit in 1999 and ceased to exist in 2005. However, its former owner Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia, still operated as a charity organization. The foundation and the S.p.A. were split in 1992 from the original statutory corporation of the bank due to Legge Amato.
The Monte di Pietà, formerly known as the Monte di Sant'Anna, is a charitable institution which lends money to those in need at modest interest rates, on the security of gold, silver or other precious articles given in pawn. In Malta the institution was set up in 1598, was known in the British period as the Public Pawn-Brokery, and it is still in operation today as part of the Inland Revenue Department. Since 1773, the Monte di Pietà has been housed in a 16th-century building in Valletta.
The Monte della Redenzione degli Schiavi, often simply known as the Monte di Redenzione, was Maltese institution which was set up to finance the redemption of Maltese people enslaved by Ottomans or Barbary pirates. It was founded in 1607 by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt, and it existed as an independent institution until 1787, when it was merged with the Monte di Pietà, forming the Monte di Pietà e Redenzione. The new institution continued the role of redeeming slaves until the early 19th century, when it became redundant after slavery was suppressed.
Blessed Marco da Montegallo was an Italian Roman Catholic priest from the Order of Friars Minor. He was born to a nobleman and served as a doctor in Ascoli Piceno before he was pressured into marriage in 1451 - the couple annulled their marriage after both entered the religious life. Father Marco is best known for establishing pawnshops for the poor across various Italian cities and for being a preacher of love.
Monte di Credito su Pegno di Vicenza was an Italian bank based in Vicenza. It was originated as a mount of piety known as Monte di Pietà di Vicenza. Due to Legge Amato, the legal person of the bank spin off its banking business as a società per azioni in 1995, and sold the business to Cariverona Banca in 1996; the original legal person of the bank became Fondazione Monte di Pietà di Vicenza. The bank was known for its headquarters, Palazzo del Monte di Pietà in the Piazza dei Signori.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mons Pietatis .|