Italy is Banking on Cheese -- Literally
Italian cheesemakers are storing their Parmigiano Reggiano behind banker's steel, all in the name of a decades-old banking program that accepts cheese as loan collateral. We wouldn't mind getting paid in cheese, but alas, even this bank charges a fee: between three to five percent interest on top of a yearly Parmesan baby-sitting rate. Still, it's a pretty smart way to cash in your cheese for cheddar.
At Credem Bank they're not taking any risks because inside, under lock and key are some of Italy's most solid assets. Bank vice president Alfredo Germini says, "Every year, we store 430 thousand wheels of parmesan cheese at a total value of 190 million Euros."
These precious walls of cheese belong to the bank for now, at least. They're part of a cash-for-cheese loan that started 50 years ago with Credem Bank, but the practice actually dates back to the Medici era in around the 15th century.
Photo courtesy of CNN Money