The history of banking is associated with that of loans, a financing tool that has achieved prosperity. Obtaining capital in exchange for a return in installments and with an interest rate is older than we think. But the amount to be returned was not always as moderate as it can be now. The interest on loans in ancient times reached very high quotas, being a difficult slab to overcome for those who got into debt.
Loan interest in Greece and Rome: usury
In these civilizations loans were already traded, thanks to which a significant profit was obtained. However, in Rome, it reached disproportionate proportions. Nothing less than 48 percent interest was what was charged. Many of those who acquired these debts could not afford the payments. And if now it is solved with an order for payment procedure , at that time the punishment was more severe. Pay with permanent slavery or even with life itself.
Later, with the Christian, Muslim and Jewish religions, a curious fact occurred. Both Christians and Muslims could not make loans with interest, as it was considered a sin. But the Jewish religion did give its approval, so they were the first to make loans a way of life. Interestingly, Jews did not benefit from a loan if it went to someone from their own community or religion. The interest was therefore variable.
They became a very popular product, as it allowed merchants to have capital to buy merchandise. The kings also resorted to the loans, since conquering new lands based on wars was very expensive. However, the interest charged was no longer usurious, but was more moderate.
As a curiosity, it should be noted that the first expedition of Christopher Columbus was financed by the Catholic Monarchs thanks to a loan ; which comes to give a very romantic vision of them. A loan that was more than repaid thanks to the wealth that began to be imported from the New Continent, such as spices and precious metals.
Europe from the 18th century
London and Amsterdam emerged as the first cities in which banking was established almost as we know it. Loans have already become one more part of these entities, becoming very popular. Thanks to the loans, factories and businesses began to rise. The loans contributed to the industrial development and economic flourishing of society as we know it.
Today, loans are very popular products that are contracted easily and quickly. Fortunately, we are no longer going to find that predatory interest on loans in ancient times . Getting financing for a personal, family or work project is at your fingertips thanks to the huge offer. Do you know our loan comparator? We invite you to see the offer that exists and see how easy it is to get one, much easier than 2,000 years ago.