Au colloque Doing Business with Strangers (Yale University, Whitney Humanities Center, 1-2 mai 2015), intervention de Nadia Matringe :
Credit Reallocation and Trade Finance in the Early Modern Age: The Fair Deposit
This paper analyses the private records of a prominent bank in 16th century Lyons, that of the Salviati, to examine the role of the fair deposit in the financing of international trade. The fair deposit appears to be a flexible clearing instrument sustaining the auto- financing of European big business. The credit mobilized through deposit is mostly derived from international trade and banking, where it is instantly re-injected. Investments are stimulated by the numerous advantages offered by the Lyons fairs – ie. licit lending at interest, alternatives for investments, possibilities of purchases and rapid transfers – and by the confidentiality of Italian banks, which preserve the anonymity of their most important clients.
On the other hand, loans made to local and foreign businessmen nourish the trade of commodities and, above all, the exchange business abroad, conferring on Lyons a central position in the European trade and payment’s system. Such form of deposit banking is closely related to the development of banking firms working mostly on commission. However, the active role of these banks in organizing Lyons’ market as well as the interchangeability of positions between principals and agents, lead to a reexamination of the concept of financial intermediaries.